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FC Columbia County's first U12 stars lead Lions' and Indians' championship races

PHOTO COURTESY: SIMON DATE - Lions girls' soccer will host a reunion including eight members of Columbia County FC's first U12 class in 2012 as Scappoose visits Doc Ackerson Stadium Friday. Back row, from left, FC Columbia County coach Jerry Vandercook, Emily Davis, Randi Fisher, Ashley Oakland, Morgan Bingaman, Sidney Allen and coach Simon Date; Middle row, from left: Karly Packineau, Natalee Irwin, Karlie Ragan, Sophia Estep, Braya Hutton, Georgia Benner, Emily Campos and Georgia Jory; Front row, from left: Brooklyn Mercier, Sarah Bjork, Kendra Vandercook, Kenzy Sue and Hallie Schwirse.In a break from Northwest Oregon Conference and Cowapa League championship chases, the Lions and Indians will renew their rivalry Friday at Doc Ackerson Stadium.

It's a contest not seen in over a decade, a preview of Scappoose's jump up to the Northwest Oregon next fall to replace Class 6A-bound Sandy -- the finality of which the Oregon School Activities Association Executive Board and Delegate Assembly announced Tuesday -- starring eight girls who helped to create FC Columbia County as U12 players in 2012.

St. Helens' Emily Davis (a senior midfielder), Sidney Allen and Sarah Bjork (senior defenders, of whom Allen is all-conference) and Morgan Bingaman (an all-conference senior goalkeeper) have their Lions (5-5-1 overall, 2-2-1 Northwest Oregon) within two games of No. 7 Milwaukie (10-0-1, 4-0-1) and fourth-ranked Sandy (8-1-2, 4-0-1) for the crown.

Natalee Irwin (a Tribe senior midfielder), Karlie Ragan and Emily Campos (senior defenders) and Georgia Jory (a manager this season) help Scappoose (9-3, 9-0 Cowapa League) allow the fifth-fewest goals in the state (one per game against three scored).

"Closing the circle on the [aforementioned] players who started the club [will be fun]," said Simon Date, FC Columbia County's founder and St. Helens' Northwest Oregon Coach of the Year. "Such a proud moment: They may be on different teams [Friday] night, but the impact they had on soccer in Columbia County has been unmeasurable."

All-conference talents Emilia Reardon (a senior defender) and Mackenzie Carlson (a sophomore forward) help St. Helens average three goals against two per game.

"I'm looking foward to having a good rivalry game against Scappoose and getting to play against players who were once my teammates on FCCC," Bingaman said. "I think it'll be a fun, competitive game."

Lauren Whisenhunt is an all-state junior midfielder for the Indians, and all-leaguers Mackenzie Ela (a senior midfielder), Alyssa Bakkensen (a senior goalkeeper), Shayna Redpath (a junior defender) and Emma Jones (a sophomore defender) have Scappoose in the hunt for its third state championship in five years.

"I'm really excited to finally have the chance to compete against the talented girls I grew up playing with on the first FCCC team," Ragan said.

The Lions are scheduled to welcome the Tribe, a winner of nine in a row and eight by shutout, to Doc Ackerson Stadium at 7 p.m.

"A lot of us played with the St. Helens girls in club when we were younger, but we haven't been able to play with them, so I'm excited to finally get to play with them one last time," Irwin said.

In the meantime, St. Helens fell 3-2 at Hillsboro (4-4-4, 3-1-1) Tuesday and is scheduled to host Putnam (4-8, 2-3) at 7 p.m. Thursday.

"I'm excited to play against some of the girls I played with years ago, and just getting the chance to finally play against our 'rivals' is pretty cool, especially because it's my last year playing high school soccer," Bjork said.

Putnam has shut out the Lions in six of seven contests by an average of 3-0 -- save for a 2-2 draw in 2015 -- since it came down from Class 6A in 2009.

The Kingsmen net and give up two goals per match.

"I am really looking forward to seeing familiar faces and knowing that we are now 'competitors' for the next 90 minutes," St. Helens sophomore forward Kelsey Elliott said. "Forget about the fun times we've had at FC Columbia County together when we were younger, this is a game both teams want to say they won."

The Tribe will arrive Friday with a two-game league lead over fifth-ranked Valley Catholic (10-2, 7-2) after its 2-0 Senior Night win and a season sweep Wednesday at Scappoose High School.

"There's a ton of rivalry around [the Seven-Mile War], and many people have been waiting to see this for a long time," Bakkensen said. "I think the hype is good, and it's nice to see teams get passionate and competitive."

CLASS 4A GIRLS' SOCCER TOP 10

1. North Marion 11-1

2. North Valley 11-1-1

3. Scappoose 9-3

4. La Grande 11-0

5. Valley Catholic 10-2

6. Molalla 11-1

7. Hidden Valley 9-1-2

8. Junction City 11-0-2

9. Gladstone 9-3-1

10. North Bend 11-2

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