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Girls soccer: Wilsonville 'on fire' in rout of St. Helens

Stehman, Gossack each score twice as Wildcats build on winning streak with nine-goal effort


by: JEFF GOODMAN / FILE - Savannah Stehman (8) scored two goals to lead the Wilsonville girls soccer team in a rout of St. Helens at home Oct. 10. The Wildcats have won five games in a row.It seemed the only thing stopping the Wilsonville girls soccer team in its match against St. Helens was the halftime buzzer.

The third-ranked Wildcats rendered the second half virtually meaningless with an offensive onslaught in the first 40 minutes of the game, keeping alive their winning streak with a 9-1 rout of the Lions at home Oct. 10.

“I don’t think there was anything they could’ve done to stop us,” senior Savannah Stehman said. “We were on fire.”

Wilsonville (6-2-1, 2-0 in the Northwest Oregon Conference) has been on fire for a while. Since losing a preseason match to Tigard — the No. 2 team in Class 6A — the Wildcats had reeled off five-consecutive victories entering their league game against Sandy on the road Oct. 15.

During their recent streak, which has also included wins over Wilson, Woodburn, Newberg and Liberty, they have combined for 20 goals while holding their opponents to a total of four.

Nearly half of those goals came against the Lions (4-4-1, 1-1), who entered the match with a No. 12 ranking.

Stehman and freshman Sophie Gossack notched two goals apiece for the Wildcats, who are in the hunt for a second-straight conference championship. Five other players each scored once in the win.

“You kind of just get in the zone, and once you get going you just can’t stop,” Stehman said. “It just kept going and going and going.”

And yet the outburst wasn’t entirely out of the ordinary for Wilsonville, which has a history of eye-popping offensive outings over the last eight seasons.

It scored nine goals on three occasions in 2006 and accomplished the feat once in a shutout of Hillsboro in 2007. It notched eight goals once in 2008 and again in 2009.

It found the back of the net 10 times in a 2010 win over Portland-Parkrose and scored nine in a play-in win over Portland-Madison that year. In 2011, it exploded for 11 goals against Madison and crushed Pendleton 9-0 in a play-in game that year.

Last season, it secured a league title with eight goals in its regular-season finale against Milwaukie.

The Wildcats amassed their single-game season high this time around thanks to an emphasis on offensive execution in practice.

“We’ve really been working on a lot of combinations, working (the ball) down the line and through the middle,” Stehman said. “When we can connect our passes and look down the line, we can put them away. And we’ve worked on shooting and finishing. Placement is key.”

Stehman said an early lead against St. Helens allowed Wilsonville to involve more players in the offense — hence the relatively balanced scoring.

“We looked for more combinations — we weren’t just taking it ourselves,” she said. “And once you get so many (goals), you’ve got to spread the love a little bit. A lot of them were assisted. It was a team effort.”

Team efforts have helped Wilsonville earn a spot in the upper echelon of the state rankings despite the graduation of a talented senior class that included three current college players.

“We had some really good talent coming in,” Stehman said. “And even though we lost a lot of talent, we’ve had a lot of girls step us this year.”

Now it’s up to the Wildcats to maintain their poise as they head into perhaps their most anticipated game of the regular season: an Oct. 17 home game against top-ranked Sherwood (6-1-2, 1-0-1).

The already intense rivalry has seemingly become even more extreme in recent years. In 2011, the Bowmen defeated Wilsonville in a penalty-kick shootout to win a state title. Last year, the Wildcats earned a 4-2 victory on the road in league play for their first win in the rivalry series since 2006.

They are 4-0-1 in conference matches since that landmark triumph.

“We’re feeling confident,” Stehman said. “And we’re just gonna try to keep our winning streak going.”

***

AT A GLANCE

The Wilsonville girls soccer team has outscored St. Helens 53-7 in the last 10 meetings, all wins:

Oct. 10, 2006: Wilsonville 3, ST. HELENS 2

Oct. 9, 2007: WILSONVILLE 5, St. Helens 0

Sept. 23, 2008: WILSONVILLE 3, St. Helens 0

Oct. 21, 2008: Wilsonville 8, ST. HELENS 1

Sept. 29, 2009: Wilsonville 5, ST. HELENS 1

Oct. 27, 2009: WILSONVILLE 8, St. Helens 0

Oct. 28, 2010: Wilsonville 2, ST. HELENS 0

Nov. 1, 2011: WILSONVILLE 8, St. Helens 1

Oct. 11, 2012: Wilsonville 2, ST. HELENS 1

Oct. 10, 2013: WILSONVILLE 9, St. Helens 1



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