League leaders ride five-game win streak into shot at season sweep of Tillamook

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: JAKE MCNEAL - Indians freshman midfielder Grace Negelspach (18) launches a corner kick.SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: JAKE MCNEAL - Indians junior defender Shayna Redpath (21) races Astoria freshman midfielder Haley Kelley (12) and sophomore midfielder Taleigh Cole (2) to a free ball.SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: JAKE MCNEAL - Indians senior defender Karlie Ragan (15) sends a pass into Astoria's box.SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: JAKE MCNEAL - Indians freshman midfielder Grace Negelspach (18) contends with Astoria freshman midfielder Elle Espelien (9) for control of a pass.

Sierra Stafford and the Indians can hardly miss.

The junior midfielder lifted a 20th-minute goal from the right shoulder of Astoria's box over Fisherman senior goalkeeper Lexi Law and from the top of the box in the 44th in a 7-0 win on Tuesday at Scappoose Middle School's Chinook Field.

"I loved how we worked together as a unit," Stafford said. "Our ball movement was amazing, and every win is one step closer to playoffs."

The Tribe (5-3 overall, 5-0 Cowapa League), off to its best start since its perfect Class 4A championship run in 2015, pitched its fourth shutout in its five-game win streak.

The Indians blanked the Fishermen (5-3-1, 3-2) for the 10th time in 11 wins since they played to a scoreless tie on Oct. 17, 2011, in Scappoose.

"Our one-twos [give-and-go passes] have been improving, and handing pressure defensively has also progressed throughout the season," Scappoose senior goalkeeper Alyssa Bakkensen said. "Obviously we want to be peaking during playoffs, so making sure we are toning small details is important in league. Getting more players to score is also a huge confidence boost individually, so we are taking advantage of our opportunities."

Ani Havlik and Karlie Ragan kept the ball in Astoria's end from the gun, and Emma Jones followed Stafford's first goal with a 28th-minute strike from inside the right of the box.

Faith Woodall joined in from the top of the box with Havlik's help in the 38th and the Tribe led 3-0 at halftime.

Lauren Whisenhunt knocked in a rebound off the top bar in the 46th, Mackenzie Ela hit the back of the net from the top of the box in the 50th and Rylee Cook finished the Fishermen in the 65th.

Stafford's heroics followed Ela's two-goal performance that lifted the Indians to a 2-1 upset of then-top-ranked Valley Catholic on Thursday, Sept. 28, in Beaverton.

"It felt great," said Ela, a senior midfielder. "It also felt really good that we all finally played to our potential and meshed really well."

Ela feathered a 12th-minute direct free kick from the right shoulder of the box over three Valiants defenders and senior keeper Noelle Mannen into the top left of the net for a 1-0 lead.

Valley Catholic junior forward Callie Kawaguchi rebounded a 24th-minute corner kick from the left for the equalizer into the center of Bakkensen's goal, however, and halftime carried a 1-1 tie.

Ela's 57th-minute score from the top of the box, despite the Valiants' lethal counterattack against which Bakkensen appealed to her defenders to hold the 40-yard line as Valley Catholic nailed Scappoose's top bar and the left post in the last five minutes, proved the clincher.

The Tribe scores an average of three goals against one per outing and was scheduled to host Seaside (1-7, 1-4), which the Indians beat 5-0 to kickstart their win streak, in a season sweep attempt on Thursday at Chinook Field, the results of which were unavailable at press time.

Scappoose has beaten the Seagulls 15 times in a row by an average of six goals to nearly one-half goal and 11 shutouts.

The Tribe will also go for a season sweep in Tillamook at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday.

The Indians beat the Cheesemakers and all-league talents Robin Hibdon (a senior goalkeeper), Celeste Stout (a junior midfielder) and Jerusha Brown (a sophomore defender) 7-0 Sept. 23 at Chinook Field, and have won the last 20 contests by an average of nine goals to one-fifth of a goal with 16 clean sheets.


Tuesday at Chinook Field, Scappoose Middle School


Sierra Stafford 20'

Emma Jones 28'

Faith Woodall 38'

Sierra Stafford 44'

Lauren Whisenhunt 46'

Mackenzie Ela 50'

Rylee Cook 65'


1. North Marion 8-1

2. North Valley 8-1

3. Hidden Valley 6-1-1

4. Valley Catholic 7-1

5. La Grande 6-0

6. Gladstone 6-2-1

7. Molalla 8-1

8. Cascade 4-1-2

9. Scappoose 5-3

10. Junction City 7-0-2