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The Indians reached the Class 5A quarterfinals, took second in the Northwest Oregon Conference

TIMES FILE PHOTO - Scappose girls soccer player Grace Negelspach and the Indians took second in the Northwest Oregon Conference.

In just its second year at the Class 5A level, Scappoose came within striking distance of both a Northwest Oregon Conference title and a state crown

The Indians had the personnel and the experience in the most essential positions and played into early November when the postseason came around.

Scappoose viewed the preseason as a barometer, a chance to challenge some of the best programs in the state regardless of classification. In 11 days, the Indians lost to Oregon Episcopal School on a penalty kick, tied Catlin Gabel, beat Valley Catholic and lost to Tualatin 3-0. Those are titans from the 3A, 4A and 6A levels. The Indians played Catlin and OES tougher than they ever have during Jark's four years at Scappoose and ended the preseason with a 4-2-1 record.

The NWOC, as it was a year ago, was a bear. The Indians opened with Wilsonville where they lost in a 3-2 instant classic and finished league play against La Salle. Wilsonville brought out Scappoose's best. The Indians went ahead early, allowed three unanswered goals, but battled back, got another score on the board and nearly evened the game up at the last minute. Wilsonville went on to win the 5A state title. Scappoose used the loss as fuel and rolled through the rest of NWOC play. The Indians didn't lose another NWOC match and reached the 5A quarterfinals where they were nudged out by North Eugene.

TIMES FILE PHOTO - Scappoose girls soccer player Tessa Davidson and the Indians reached the Class 5A state quarterfinals. "Everyone is good, that's why we like being a part of this new league," Jark said.

At the center of Scappoose's success was senior Emma Jones, a highly decorated, highly sought after center midfielder who is deciding between Portland State University and OIT for her collegiate future. Jones was a defensive anchor, who is physical on the ground, strong in the air and aggressive everywhere. But the senior captain isn't confined to one side of the field. She'll run the length of the pitch and make things happen offensively when the action is stagnant. On top of her on-field abilities, Jark said Jones is one of the best teammates you'll ever come across.

"I always call her my 'Servant Leader" because she serves the team so well," Jark said. "She's worked the very hardest on every single drill since her freshman year. She brings that leadership and work ethic and she's really a jack of all trades. She can do everything. She's always there to pick up the pieces when others aren't having the best game. She's incredibly fast and smart and she's just a great kid. She's one of the nicest kids you'll ever meet."

Jark said junior forward Anika Havlik stepped up "big-time" offensively for the Indians. She's had a goal or an assist in almost every single game from the Indians' striker position. Havlik creates "so many things" in the final third of the pitch and was moved from midfield to forward to maximize her offensive abilities. She'll be counted on to provide the same type of production next fall.

"She's elevated her game to the next level for sure, which has helped us a lot offensively," Jark said.

Junior midfielders Tessa Davidson, Grace Negelspach and senior Taryn Verzino were "super solid and strong" defensively and formulated a tough, athletic center mid along with Jones. Juniors Rylee Cook and Autumn Terry were all-league defenders a year ago and they hold down the perimeter of the Scappoose defense. Senior goalie Faith Woodall enjoyed another great season, helping the Indians hold their opponents to just seven goals in seven non-league matches.

"Her confidence has definitely grown, being the keeper for the second year," Jark said.

Thankfully, Havlik didn't have to handle all of the scoring burden. The Indians liked to push up the field with full force and will bring their midfielders into striking position when the moment calls for such strategy. Scappoose is in great physical condition, with players who are equally comfortable competing in both areas of the game.

"I've always loved our team because I feel like we don't have just the one or two players who score all of the goals," Jark said.

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