Wildcats advance to face surging Wilson

by: GREG ARTMAN - Audrey Chames (top) celebrates with Savannah Stehman after scoring a goal Nov. 9 at Randall Stadium, where the Wilsonville girls soccer team defeated Crescent Valley in the Class 5A state quarterfinals. Stehman notched the first hat trick of her high school career.The Wilsonville girls soccer team has stressed all season that it wants much more than a win over its rival, a league championship or a postseason appearance.

And after stomping Corvallis-Crescent Valley 4-1 in the Class 5A quarterfinals Nov. 9 at Randall Stadium, the third-seeded Wildcats are still in position to achieve their ultimate goal.

They advanced to the semifinals for the second time in three years, marching forward on their quest for their first state title in school history.

“We have a chance,” coach Becca Shook said. “Obviously, a lot of things come into play. Anything can happen. But we’re all on the same page. I have confidence in the girls.”

Wilsonville (12-3-1) enters the penultimate round at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 against Portland-Wilson, which appears to be a different team that in was when the Wildcats defeated it in preseason play.

After starting the season with a winless record through its first eight matches, the Trojans (7-6-3) have gone unbeaten in eight-straight games. And they’ve become the Cinderella of the playoffs, ousting both Sherwood and West Albany to advance to the semifinals as the 15th-seeded team.

For the Wildcats, who fell in the quarterfinals last year, the match serves as an opportunity to secure a top-two finish in the state for the third time in program history. They were the runners-up in 1998 and 2011.

Wilsonville took one step closer with a rout of Crescent Valley (8-6-1) in which senior Savannah Stehman notched the first hat trick of her high school career.

It didn’t take long for the Wildcats to get on the board against the Raiders — 86 seconds, to be exact. After corralling the ball on the let side, Stehman took a dribble and used her left foot to place a shot past freshman goalkeeper Tess Rosecrans into the right side of the net.

“That helped so much,” Stehman said. “It gives us momentum going forward, and it gets the other team down a little bit. It’s like, ‘Oh, shoot, here they come.’ It was good.”

Indeed, Wilsonville was just getting started. It controlled possession for much of the rest of the first half, and it was rewarded with back-to-back goals before halftime.

In the 28th minute, junior midfielder Audrey Chames scored on a close-range rebound of a shot by Stehman to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.

Stehman put away her second goal about a minute later. She collected a ball from the wing, dribbled diagonally away from the net to earn a better angle and fired a shot past Rosecrans to extend her team’s lead to 3-0.

Stehman completed her hat trick in the 55th minute, running onto a well-placed diagonal pass from junior midfielder Bethany Cerdan and powering the ball into the net.

“The forwards were moving around a lot,” Stehman said. “Previously, we’d been going straight up the field if we hit it down the line. We were checking in, checking out, switching all around. We had our centers going outside, and our outsides going in. Everything was great.”

Crescent Valley responded just seconds later with its goal of the match, a strike by senior Aiyanna Cameron-Lewis from a spot near the top of the box.

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