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Backup Vikings goal keeper Matea Vernon stops two Maverick goals in PKs to send Forest Grove to the second round.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Forest Grove's Joy Long battles with Mountainside's Taylar Danielson during the two teams' playoff game Saturday, Oct. 29, at Forest Grove High School.With the game, and really the season on the line for Forest Grove in the opening round of the state playoffs, the Viking were forced to lean on a backup sophomore goalkeeper to keep their 2022 season alive—and she didn't disappoint.

Sophomore Matea Vernon—who was forced into action in between the first and second overtime periods due to starter Aleena Calvert being evaluated for a concussion—stopped two of Mountainside's first three penalty kick attempts, and when senior Sophia Broberg netted the fourth straight for the home Vikings, Forest Grove was on to the second round after a 3-2 win over the Mavericks Saturday, Oct. 29, at Forest Grove High School.

"She's a very good keeper," Forest Grove head coach Ignacio Olvera said about Vernon. "She's very calm, cool and collected. That's why she went in and I knew she was going to do it."

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Forest Grove's Joanna Long and Mountainside's Hana Sawan eyeball a header during the two teams' playoff game Saturday, Oct. 29, at Forest Grove High School.
Vernon was all smiles after helping her team to the second round, but admitted to feeling more than her share of nerves upon taking the field in such a tense and difficult situation.

"I was pretty excited, but I was trying to compose myself not to get too excited," she said. "I was ready to go, but also thinking, 'I better save this.'"

The exciting end marked the end of a game in many ways dominated by the Vikings. Despite trailing 2-1 at the half, Forest Grove controlled the majority of the second stanza but simply couldn't find an equalizer until a Mountainside own goal on a cross from the right corner made it 2-2.

The score was one of two Maverick own goals, the first of which came on a deflection from a Jordyn Minor corner kick in the game's sixth minute.

Mountainside head coach Travis Schoonover said the self-inflicted wounds were unfortunate, but added that the Vikings probably had a couple coming due to the difference in the two teams' time of possession.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Forest Grove defender during the Mavericks' first round playoff game against the Vikings Saturday, Oct. 29, at Forest Grove High School."While they had quite a bit of the ball, both of their goals were own goals," he said. "It's unfortunate, but they probably deserved one or two with the amount of possession they had. But that's the way it kind of came out."

Mountainside answered the Vikings' first goal almost immediately, getting a breakaway score from junior Addison Bellm less than a minute after Forest Grove broke the ice.

The Mavericks then took the lead 31 minutes later when senior Hana Sawan netted a loose ball from 30 yards out to send the visitors to the half ahead 2-1.

It—almost miraculously—stayed that way until a Mavs defender inadvertently headed in a Forest Grove cross midway through the second half, and from there it seemed almost inevitable that the Vikings would get a game-winner sometime before the end of regulation. But Mountainside goalkeeper Izzy Cory kept the Vikes at bay, stopping multiple attacks from what seemed like certain angles.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Mountainside's Joelle Iyasele and Forest Grove's Sophia Broberg battle for a loose ball during the two teams' playoff game Saturday, Oct. 29, at Forest Grove High School.
"She's just a sophomore, but she's a good goalkeeper," Schoonover said. "We're fortunate to have her."

Yes, they were, especially as the game progressed and the Mav defenders appeared to be succumbing a bit to fatigue.

Olvera said that was part of their plan, but one that ultimately didn't result in it's intended goal—scores.

"We were definitely a better team in the second half," Olvera said. "We played possession and were able to make them run us down, and you could see them getting tired chasing the ball around. But we couldn't really take advantage of it."

Until the penalty kick portion of things where the Vikings couldn't miss, getting successful makes from Joanna Long, Minor, Joy Long, and Sophia Broberg to finish things off.

Meanwhile Mountainside's Bellm netted the team's first shot, but saw the next two turned away by Vernon, ending what was a uniquely challenging year due to a mixture of both under and upperclassmen per Schoonover.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Forest Grove goal keeper Matea Vernon makes a save during penalty kicks in the Vikings' win over Mountainside Saturday, Oct. 29, at Forest Grove High School."I wouldn't say it was a difficult season, but we had three or four freshmen out there playing with just a couple seniors," the Mountainside coach said. "At times they exceeded my expectations, but we tied and lost some games we probably should've won, and that put us in a situation where we had to go on the road and play a good team like Forest Grove.

"But tonight, it was nice to see them come out and just continue to battle, and I was proud of them."

So, while the Mavericks are done, the Vikings are advancing to the second round where they'll face the winner of the Willamette/Lake Oswego game. Olvera knows that no matter who it is they'll offer a challenge, and that there are no easy games left on whatever schedule remains.

"Now, it's just about preparing for the next game," Olvera said. "Our bracket is very tough. Every game is going to be very tough."

State Soccer Playoffs


First Round

Jesuit 9, Sprague 0

Oregon City 3, W. Salem 2

Cleveland 1, S. Eugene 0

Lakeridge 3, McDaniel 2

Tualatin 2, C. Catholic 0

Tigard 1, N. Medford 0

Beaverton 1, S. Medford 0

Sheldon 2, D. Douglas 1

Sunset 2, Ida B. Wells 1

St. Mary's Acad. 2, Sherwood 1

Forest Grove 3, Mountainside 2

Lake Oswego 7, Willamette 0

Grant 5, Newberg 0

Lincoln 2, Westview 1

Barlow 5, S. Salem 0

West Linn 5, Southridge 0

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