Clackamas breezes past Oregon City to open 6A girls' soccer playoffs, 7-0
Oregon City went into Saturday's opening round of the OSAA Class 6A girls' soccer playoffs hoping to catch Clackamas in another first-round funk.
That didn't happen.
Clackamas' Kyla Sullivan had three goals and one assist, and Ellie Gentry added two goals, leading the No. 3-ranked Cavaliers to a 7-0 blowout over the Pioneers at Cavaliers Stadium.
Aidan Brown and Peyton Fendrich also scored goals for Clackamas, and senior keeper Hallie Byzewski registered her ninth shutout to help send the Cavaliers (12-2-1) into Wednesday's second round against Tualatin (9-4-2).
The Cavaliers, who had stumbled in the first round each of the past three seasons, took most of the suspense out of Saturday's game with four goals in the first 16 minutes of play.
Sullivan and Gentry both scored on penalty kicks three minutes apart in the first seven minutes, Brown scored with an assist from Sullivan in the 11th minute, and Fendrich headed home a corner kick from Madeline Tetz to make it 4-0 with 24:52 to play in the first half.
Gentry connected again in the 22nd minute, Sullivan got her second goal in the 26th minute to make it 6-0 before halftime, and then Sullivan completed her hat trick with an assist from Payton Mongelli in the 66th minute.
"I think we pretty much played up to our potential," Cavaliers coach Manuel Martinez said. "I mean, I'm glad to be out of the first round."
But this is a significantly different Clackamas team than the one that lost to Tualatin in the first round a year ago, having added five players -- Emma Anderson, Ellie Busik, Byzewski, Fendrich, and Gentry -- who had spent the previous fall playing for the Portland Thorns Academy.
Yet even after the Cavaliers went undefeated through the Mt. Hood Conference season, they carried the stigma of their recent first-round woes into Saturday's game and didn't shake it until they put a few goals on the board.
"My biggest concern was trying to keep my teammates calm, because I know they were all a little bit on edge about this game," said Byzewski, the senior keeper. "But I felt ready and I felt we could handle Oregon City, and we did."
The Pioneers (3-10-2) limped into the playoffs on a three-game losing streak and were without starting keeper Novalee Ceperich, who missed Saturday's game to attend a family wedding.
Oregon City promoted freshman keeper Joelle Robeson from the junior varsity team to start against the Cavaliers. The Pioneers also shifted midfielders Taylor Salisbury and Kesli Keller onto the back line in an attempt to strengthen the defense.
The strategy worked fine until the Pioneers got called for a tackle inside the 18-yard box in the fourth minute, and then called for a dangerous play inside the 18 in the seventh minute, which led to two penalty kicks and a 2-0 Clackamas lead.
"They were not the right calls," Oregon City coach Marshall Brewer said. "The first one, there was contact in the box, we've got possession, we've taken four touches, and then the referee calls is back and says it's a foul. Second one, same deal.
"You take those two goals away … yeah, they scored five more, but you take those first two goals away and the run of play is different. I'm not going to say the call lost the game for us. I'm just saying they changed the way we played."
Martinez, who was standing on the same side of the field as Marshall and whose bench was closer to the end where the fouls occurred, said the referee got both calls right.
"I know Coach Brewer is upset, but those were two penalties," Martinez said. "I know that's probably now how he wanted to start, but I don't think that had any bearing on how we played or how we didn't play."
Oregon City brought some serious pressure in the second half, forcing Byzewski to make a diving save on a Neavah Taylor header in the 64th minute and another diving save on an Abbi Willet shot off a free kick from just outside the top of the 18 in the 68th minute.
"We trained hard and wanted to take the game to Clackamas," said Brewer, whose team also dropped a 4-0 decision to the Cavaliers during the regular season. "I watched them get beat by Tualatin the last two years in the first round, so we thought that might be something that would work in our favor. The first seven minutes of the game changed all that.
"We've been in games and then a call or a bounce doesn't go our way. That's just how our season has gone. The girls have worked hard all season. We're just not getting the result."