Oregon City girls soccer fights to 0-0 tie against Tualatin
There wasn't any score.
There were hardly any fans.
There was no league title to chase.
But to suggest that the 0-0 tie between the Oregon City and Tualatin girls soccer teams on Wednesday, March 10, at Tualatin High School didn't mean anything could not be further from the truth.
For both the homestanding Timberwolves and the visiting Pioneers, Wednesday's game — another chance to compete after nearly seeing their season canceled — meant everything to Oregon City and Tualatin's players.
"I'm really happy to get to play again and just be out here playing a game I love," said Oregon City junior midfielder Jaynie Rust. "We totally can do this this season. We've just got to get it together and play better. We've just got to get better."
"Coming to a new school, I think just finding that chemistry again, feeling the ball again, being on the field under the lights, all of that is just what the game of soccer is about," said Oregon City junior defender Rachel Remsburg, a transfer from Sandy. "I just hope that it continues on an increasing rate."
With the tie, the Pioneers remained unbeaten in the 2021 season with a mark of 2-0-1 through three matches. Tualatin, meanwhile, moved to 0-2-1 after dropping its first two contests of the year.
"Not having a school that we can actually walk into, that's really hard," said Tualatin senior forward Alyvia Embree. "Being able to have these connections here with everybody, it just kind of lifts your day up and gives you something to do. A lot of people have been, you know, like stagnant in their day with COVID … so this is just like a little high in our day."
"Especially for our seniors — we thought we were never going to play another soccer game," said Tualatin senior midfielder Payton Wesson. "So to be able to put on a Tualatin uniform one more year, it's just super cool to be able to defend (the team's Three Rivers League title from) last year."
While neither team scored in the first half, it doesn't mean there wasn't some excitement. The Timberwolves created four corner kicks in the opening half and a quartet of shots, the best of those an attack by junior forward Sophia Aldinger following a Wesson corner kick that was headed away by Rust in the final five minutes of the half.
The Pioneers, meanwhile, had two first-half shots on goal to just one for the Timberwolves, but also failed to score. Tualatin junior goalkeeper Cate Van Valin came through to stop shots by OC junior midfielder Bree McCullough and sophomore midfielder Amelia Spellman and kept the contest tied 0-0 at the half.
In the second half, the Wolves very nearly came through to score 11 minutes into the period when sophomore Mackenzie Mathis sent a pass into the Oregon City penalty box. The Pioneers failed to clear the ball and it bounced ahead to Tualatin junior forward Brook Burke, but Burke's shot missed right of the Oregon City goal and the game remained tied at 0-0.
The Pioneers and Wolves continued to trade shots down the stretch, but neither was able to connect, with Tualatin seeing its three second-half shots on goal stopped by Pioneer junior keeper Sophia Barr. Oregon City's best chance against Tualatin sophomore keeper Olivia Poulivaati came with just five minutes left when senior defender Bailey Gray took a pass up the left sideline and turned toward the Wolves' goal at the endline before Poulivaati came out to smother the ball and secure the tie.
"We really didn't pick it up in the first half, but when we came on the second half, we did so much better," Embree said. "That's what we talked about in our huddle. We just had to be quick to the ball, quick on our feet and the intensity was raised a lot."
"I think it just comes down to the last few minutes of the game at the end of the day," Remsburg said. "I think we could have been a little bit more aggressive offensively in the end, but we'll get it next game."
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