Sherwood gets a 2-1 win over the Class 6A powerhouse

by: MATT SINGLEDECKER - STAYING STRONG -- Sherwood freshman forward Kaillen Freid (2) breaks through a Sunset double team in the second half of the Bowmen's 2-1 win over the Apollos last Thursday. CEDAR MILL — This was supposed to be a reality check for the Sherwood High School girls soccer team.

Maybe it was. Maybe the Lady Bowmen really are this good, this soon.

In a face-off against Sunset — one of the 6A’s elite teams this season — Sherwood played more consistently and with more force than the loaded Apollos. Then, after coming back from a 1-0 deficit in the first half, the Lady Bowmen played like the more experienced team in the second half of a 2-1 win last Thursday.

Statement games aren’t often deemed in mid-September. But, if there was any declaration made in a showdown between two of Oregon’s powerhouse high school programs, it’s that Sherwood hasn’t lost a step despite losing 12 seniors off last year’s state runner-up squad.

“This is pretty freaking awesome,” said sophomore Allison Schwarm. “We came into this knowing they were a really hard team. We just came out and did the best we could and came out with the win.”

“We were all pretty confident,” added junior Abby Muller. “We all work together and work our best. Good things always come out of it when we work together as a team.”

Sunset moved to 2-1 on the season with the setback. The Lady Bowmen improved to 2-1 at that point with the victory.

Sunset scored the first goal of the last Thursday’s match when forward Alex Bibo completed a breakaway goal on the right side of the pitch to go up 1-0 with 10 minutes and 30 seconds left in the first half.

Oozing confidence, as if it was sure that the comeback was coming, Sherwood reminded the packed stands of Bowmen and Apollos patrons that youthful innocence can indeed fuel a team.

Sherwood freshman Cameron Green fired a free kick from about 25 yards out that bounced around the goalie box in front of the Apollo defense. As Sunset looked around at one another thinking somebody else was going to clear the ball, alert Sherwood freshman Lindsay Howard tiptoed in and hurriedly nudged the ball towards the goal with her left foot. Sunset lost its train of thought for just a second and couldn’t find the ball as it took one bounce off an Apollo defender and into the net to even the score 1-1.

“I ran into the goalie and the goalie didn’t even know it was in,” said Howard. “She stopped and then it rolled past her and went in.”

In a flash, Sherwood had gone from being on the ropes to the instigator with all the positive energy back on their side. The score came not 20 seconds after Bibo’s first goal and put the wind back in the Bowmen’s sails.

“When a team scores on us we’re like ‘We need to get it back’,” said Greene. “We just work our hardest to get one down.”

“We don’t get down,” added Schwarm. “It motivates us more to get another goal.”

Sunset came into the game sporting a Division I player in Arizona State commit Taylor Coon, two tough defenders Grace Mettler and Payten Sonnen as well as all-league goalkeeper Taylor Luty. Nonetheless, Sherwood seemed to ignore the Apollos’ lofty status and flashy resumes. The Lady Bowmen played with a lot of gumption and went right at Coon and the rest of Sunset’s hyped backline. Howard, Schwartz, Greene and Sarah Bramley Garoutte tugged on Coon’s cape attacking the all-state defender instead of surrendering to her size and speed.

“We don’t get that in our minds,” said Green. “We don’t let that intimidate us. We just work our hardest.”

That added aggression and take-no-prisoners attitude came into play big-time in the second half.

The game-winning goal came off the foot of Schwarm who, after a scrambled corner kick and cross from Sydney Strohmaier, flicked the ball into the right corner of the net to go up 2-1 with 25:20 to go in the second half.

“It was kind of a lucky touch but I was in the right spot,” said Schwarm.

Even better than scoring the go-ahead goal, Sherwood’s defense put a vice on Bibo, Rose Pflug, and Elly Williamson all whom ran rampant on the Bowmen’s side of the pitch in the first 40 minutes of play.

The accelerated Apollo trio collided with a physical Sherwood defense of Muller, Taylor Cole, and Kai Morgan that didn’t let anything easy get by them. Schwarm said in the second half Sherwood’s forwards did a better job of retreating on defense and picking up their marks instead of letting the Apollo midfielders squirm free offensively.

“We kept our defensive shape,” said Muller. “We talked about where to go and who to guard and who their fastest players were. We just played aggressive.”

Sherwood lost 12 seniors from last season’s state runner up team that won 14 games, so this 2013 version is entirely brand-new and comparatively unknown. That rawness, Howard said, has been negated by an instant team chemistry that was formed over the summer and carried over to a 2-1 record in the preseason.

“We all came together really fast,” said Howard. “We just became a team really quickly and on the field we just all play together well. It built our confidence that we can actually win all of it. I think we can win it all.”

“We have skill, we’re a family and we play for each other,” said Schwarm. “Even with the hard teams, we’re not overly confident but we’re confident and we work together to win the game.”

Sherwood followed up the win by scoring a 6-0 victory over Cleveland in a non-league match played Tuesday at Sherwood High School.

The Lady Bowmen will be back in action today (Thursday) when they host Crescent Valley in a non-league match starting at 7:30 p.m. at Sherwood High School.

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