4A girls soccer: Gladstone rolls over Mazama in playoff opener, 9-0
The Gladstone Gladiators passed their first test of the OSAA 4A girls soccer playoffs without much of a fight.
Actually, they made winning look easy.
Gladstone's Brianna Lewis scored four goals, and Rhyli Grim and Denali Nelson had two goals each, leading the top-ranked Gladiators to a 9-0 blowout win Tuesday over the Mazama Vikings at Gladstone's Dick Baker Stadium.
Hanne Hopkins added a goal in the 70th minute to help send the Gladiators (14-1) into Saturday's quarterfinals against Woodburn, a 1-0 winner Tuesday over Valley Catholic.
"There's definitely some relief to get the first one out of the way, but we did go in expecting to win," Gladstone coach Tyler Lewis said. "We've worked hard and we have some pretty good players, and we go out each game and expect to win."
That's not to say the Gladiators didn't have to deal with a few pre-game butterflies, not sure how they would match-up with the No. 16-seeded Vikings of Klamath Falls.
"You can never underestimate anyone, and our team is fully aware of that," Gladstone keeper Aaliyah Asad said. "I definitely got nervous before the game, and I think our whole team did when we realized this could be our last soccer game of the season.
"But after that first goal went in, I started feeling pretty good. I think we played great and I'm glad some players that don't usually see the field got some time in the game. That was important."
Gladstone scored four goals in the first half and five in the second half, matching their season-high for goals in a game.
Mazama, the fifth-place team from the Skyline Conference, finished the season at 6-9.
"It wasn't just Gladstone playing well," Vikings coach Michael Imada said. "It was also us. We just didn't show up. And it happens sometimes.
"My coaching philosophy is that you've just got to give your best every single day. There are some days when you just come up short and sometimes that's how it happens."
Gladstone dominated the run of play from the opening whistle, taking a 1-0 lead when Grim unleashed a shot from about 20 yards out that deflected off the crossbar and dropped behind Mazama keeper Kalee Wright in the fifth minute.
The remainder of the first half turned into the Brianna Lewis Show as the head coach's daughter scored her first goal in the 14th minute, another in the 16th minute, and another in the 35th minute, extending Gladstone's lead to 4-0.
The Gladiators pled on the second half, starting with Nelson's corner kick from the left corner in the 44th minute that Grim redirected inside the far post to make it 5-0.
"Our finish in the first half was a little bit better than it had been, so that was a little unexpected," Tyler Lewis said. "So, to be able to put them away and really make it a non-contest early was a little bit of a surprise. We thought it would be a much closer game.
"We're playing well. It's exciting to be able to play the full roster and have all 20-some players play in your first playoff game. The girls have worked so hard to get to this point and we have a lot of depth in our program, so it was just a good opportunity for them all to play."
Mazama, coming off a 2-0 win over Corbett in Saturday's play-in round, was one of only two teams (Ontario, the other) to reach the round of 16 with a sub-.500 record.
"We're young," Imada said. "We're still learning. To be honest, nobody expected us to be here. This was a good learning experience for our players. They've never been in a stadium that has fans and stuff like this, so … it's a great learning experience for them.
"Really, I think any team in the state can play with anybody else. It's all about the team that shows up on that day. That's the way I've been raised to believe in soccer and the same holds true in other sports — it's just sho shows up on that day."
Gladstone still has some soccer to play.
"We need to be fully dedicated in our practice," said Asad, who combined with backup keeper Emersyn Stepp in recording the Gladiators' sixth shutout of the season. "Throughout the season, we know how to have a good time together and our team fully enjoys being with each other, and that sometimes gets us a little off task.
"But I think we all know the severity of what's coming and I think as long as we put our heads down and work hard and focus, we're going to be prepared."
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