Girls soccer: Clackamas strikes late, edges Oregon City, 2-1
Clackamas' Kyla Sullivan set up Jaycee Iranshad for the go-ahead goal in the 79 thminute as the Cavaliers scored a stunning 2-1 Mt. Hood Conference girls' soccer home win Thursday over Oregon City.
Oregon City's Amber Jewel had an opportunity to score an equalizer on a direct free kicks from 20 yards in the waning seconds, but Clackamas goalkeeper Amaya Johnson made a routine save to help seal the Cavaliers' first league win.
After losses to Central Catholic and Barlow to open league play, the Cavaliers (5-4-1, 1-2-0 Mt. Hood) treated Thursday's match against the defending league champion Pioneers as if it were a must-win game.
"A tie wouldn't have helped us," Cavaliers coach Manuel Martinez said. "We had to win and the girls wanted it from the get-go tonight.
"They knew that we had kind of painted ourselves into corner with how we opened league play, but they stuck together fought, which I think was the big difference."
For Oregon City (8-1-1, 2-1-0), the loss snapped both an eight-game win streak and 9-0-2 league unbeaten streak that had stretched over parts of three seasons.
"We did not play our best today and it showed in the result," Pioneers coach Marshall Brewer said. "It's unfortunate for the girls, but I'd rather lose now than later.
"This will be a good wake-up call for our girls. I mean, our girls played great. Don't get me wrong. We just could have played better."
Oregon City carried the play with Nevaeh Taylor, Abi Willett and Hailey Willett each getting shots on goal in the first 10 minutes, including Hailey Willett's rising shot that grazed the crossbar before sailing out of bounds.
The game remained scoreless until the 32nd minute when Clackamas' Joeine DeKar sent a corner kick into the 6-yard box where the ball pin-balled off four or five players before Cavaliers' defender Kori Walters nudged it over the goal line.
Clackamas continued to carry the play in the second half until the 55th minute when Oregon City brought Hanna Lebreton off the bench to play defense and had center back Mya Pfenning join the attack.
In the 63rd minute, Abi Willett headed a corner kick from Chloe Leonetti into the net, but the goal was disallowed after Willett was called for pushing Iranshad to make the play.
A minute later, Abi Willett made no mistake from top left of the 18-yard box as she took a pass from Amber Jewell and arched a shot past Johnson and inside the far post to draw the Pioneers into a 1-1 tie with 16:42 to play.
As the clock ticked under two minutes, Clackamas' Aidan Brown played a through ball to Sullivan, who got loose behind Oregon City's last line of defense and closed on the Pioneers' goal from the right side.
Oregon City keeper Madison Steffan came out to try and make a play, but ended up out of position as Sullivan worked the ball to Iranshad for a chip shot into a wide-open net.
"I saw Kyla Sullivan just wanting the goal," Martinez said. "I mean, she got her feet going, got the ball, and was probably going to plow through anybody that she needed in order to get there. And then it was good to see that everybody else was following, wanting to score that goal."
Iranshad, who sat out part of the second half after rolling her right ankle, said she wasn't about to quit on the play.
"If I would have stopped and Kyla would have kept going and passed it, there would have been anybody these," Iranshad said. "Everyone just had to keep going, keep working, and keep running up the field so we could get on it.
"We knew we had to have this win. We put everything into it and worked so hard. We didn't give up once. I think that made the difference."
Martinez was impressed with the composure that his players showed in such a pressure-packed game.
"I liked that they stuck together and fought," he said. "We were kind of gun after those close ones that we lost. Tonight, we had a talk at halftime and I was able to tell them, 'We're not panicking tonight. We're here. We're good. We know how to play this game.' So, that was good to see them calm down and just play hard."
Brewer chalked up the loss as a learning experience for his Pioneers.
"We're in an OK place, because we've got games to play," Brewer said. "Last year, when we lost to Sherwood in the quarterfinals, we didn't have another game to help us get back on track. This is OK.
"We lost, and that's fine, but it's not going to define us."