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The Vikings defeat the Titans 2-1 and will face top-ranked Jesuit in the second round.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Forest Grove sophomore Elise Broberg controls the ball during the Vikings' first round playoff game versus West Salem Saturday, Oct. 30, at Forest Grove High School.The Forest Grove girls soccer team is back.

After a tough stretch to end the regular season, including a tie and loss to Newberg and McMinnville, the Vikings turned the tide in a 2-1 victory over West Salem in the first round of the OSAA state playoffs Saturday afternoon, Oct. 30, at Forest Grove High School.

"The girls wanted to get back, and they did that tonight," Forest Grove head coach Ignacio Olvera said. "We got back to our style tonight and these girls want to keep playing in the playoffs."

The Vikings got goals from sophomore Ava Henkemeyer and junior Sophia Broberg, the last of which came on a cross from Lily Everson and off of the head of Broberg to break a 1-1 tie in the 76th minute.

Forest Grove's late season struggles came at a price, but Broberg said it also served as an opportunity for the team to regroup and gain some perspective on where they'd been, are, and want to go as the season winds to a close.

"I feel like it was a wake up call for us," she said. "I think we realized that this is it for us, and this is a special team and we want to finish it off strong."

The Vikings' initial goal came at the tail end of what had been a fairly lackluster first half. Neither team looked sharp for the first 30 minutes, and in fact it was a West Salem mistake that led to the game's icebreaker.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Forest Grove senior Makena Speer snatches the ball in mid-air during the Vikings' first round playoff game versus West Salem Saturday, Oct. 30, at Forest Grove High School. As the ball sat idle in the right side of the Titans backfield, a visiting defender tried to kick the ball harmlessly back to West Salem goalkeeper Natalie Cunningham. But the kick was a mishit, allowing Henkemeyer the opportunity to beat Cunningham to the ball and tap it past the nearly defenseless keeper and into the net, putting the Vikes up 1-0.

It stayed that way until the 56th minute when the Titans evened the score on a Ciela Acosta goal, which came when the junior forward tapped-in a loose ball in the goal box off of a 30 yard free kick from Maddy Endler.

But Broberg's header tipped the scales 20 minutes later, and Olvera said that as a result of the goal and ultimately the win, his team got a bit of their mojo back.

"They really wanted this win," the coach said. "The last couple of games have been tough, but I think I started to see the team I know is there tonight. They've been talking about wanting to play Jesuit and I think they're ready to play them."

Easier said than done, after-all the Crusaders are 13-1, have only allowed eight goals all season, and have won the last three state championships awarded. But Broberg said she's familiar with many of Jesuit's players and is excited for the opportunity to play them, and show the rest of the state what her team is capable of.

"I'm 100 percent excited for that game because I've played with a lot of those girls in club soccer," Broberg said. "We've worked so hard this season and were ready to show everybody that work, and I think the team's excited to show everybody and prove to people that we can play. This is a great group of girls and we support each other and we're going to have fun."

Forest Grove's second round game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2, at Jesuit High School.


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