Tualatin opens the state playoffs with pair of victories

by: DAN BROOD - TAKING THE LEAD -- Members of the Tualatin High School girls soccer team celebrate after sophomore Corinne Togiai (17) scored the first of her two goals in the Wolves' 2-0 state playoff win over Lakeridge.TUALATIN — The Tualatin High School girls soccer team says that it still can get better.

Maybe, but the Timberwolves were certainly good enough on Saturday. Good enough to advance in the OSAA Class 6A state playoffs.

Tualatin, taking advantage of its opportunities on offense and shutting down Lakeridge on defense, came away with a 2-0 win over the Pacers in a Class 6A state playoff first-round match played Saturday at Tualatin High School.

“That felt great,” said Tualatin sophomore forward Corinne Togiai, who scored both goals for the Wolves in the victory. “We did well. We still have room for improvement, but now we get to move on.”

“It was good,” said Tualatin senior midfielder Madison Campbell, who assisted on one of the goals. “We kept possession most of the time, and we had fun.”

“We were in control, but we didn’t have the intensity we need,” Tualatin coach Kalé Dwight said. “We had flashes where we look really good, but we need to turn those flashes into an entire game.”

Lakeridge, the No. 4 team out of the Three Rivers League, finished its season with a final overall record of 4-8-4.

Tualatin, the No. 2 team out of the Pacific Conference and the No. 3 team in the OSAA power rankings, improved to 10-2-3 on the season. The Timberwolves also advanced to Tuesday’s second round of the Class 6A state playoffs, where it hosted South Salem.

The Wolves got off to a fast start in Saturday’s playoff opener with Lakeridge.

Togiai helped give Tualatin an early advantage. After taking a pass from junior Kyla Hackelman, Togiai blasted a spin-around shot from 19 yards out into the right side of the Lakeridge goal to give the Timberwolves a 1-0 lead with 25 minutes and 24 seconds remaining in the first half.

Tualatin kept firing away from there, getting shots on goal from senior Megan Landmark, senior Lauren Helmreich, Togiai, junior Aryana Harvey and Campbell in the final 24 minutes of the opening DAN BROOD - IN CONTROL -- Tualatin senior defender Alyssa Durdel (left) keeps the ball away from Lakeridge's Natalie Bristol.

Meanwhile, the Tualatin defense — including junior Ariana Pumpelly, junior Natalie Chen, senior Alyssa Durdel and senior Jill Farley, among others — limited Lakeridge to just one shot on goal in the first 40 minutes. The Pacers’ one first-half shot on goal was a free-kick attempt by senor Mallory Walton from 30 yards out, with Tualatin sophomore goalkeeper Emily Leonard making the save.

The Wolves also got a key defensive play from Pumpelly, who stole the ball from Lakeridge senior Madison Dupre when she appeared to have an open path toward the Tualatin goal.

The Pacers seemed to try to turn up the pressure in the second half.

Leonard had to make a sliding kick deflection of a driving shot by Lakeridge junior Nicole Helm with 22:55 left in the match. Leonard also made a save on a long-range attempt by Dupre coming with 10:48 remaining.

Less than a minute later, a shot by Tualatin sophomore Maura Dunigan, from 30 yards out, drifted just barely wide left of the Lakeridge goal.

But, as the match entered its final 10 minutes, the Wolves found themselves still holding just a 1-0 advantage.

However, Campbell and Togiai took care of that.

Campbell, after driving the ball past midfield, passed the ball ahead to Togiai. With the ball getting to her in full stride, Togiai drilled a shot from 12 yards out into the left side of the Pacer goal to push the Tualatin lead to 2-0 with 7:30 left in the DAN BROOD - STANDING STRONG -- Tualatin seniors Madison Campbell (6) and Lauren Helmreich look to provide an obstacle for Lakeridge senior Mallory Walton as she attempts a free kick in Saturday's Class 6A state playoff first-round match. The Timberwolves scored a 2-0 victory.

“That was a great through ball,” Togiai said. “We’ve been working on that.”

“We’ve been practicing possession and passing,” Campbell said. “It was good to execute that in a game. That was fun.”

Togiai also said she had fun with her two-goal performance.

“That felt great,” she said. “I had been in a slump, but it was good to turn it around now.”

Following Togiai’s second goal, the Wolves cruised to the 2-0 victory.

“When we click, we’re amazing,” Dwight said. “And when we don’t, we’re not. But a win is a win, and this was good.”

“This was a team effort,” Togiai said. “We had good passing and we had good communication on defense.”

On Tuesday, Tualatin picked up another postseason win, as it bested South Salem 3-0 in a second-round match played at Tualatin High School.

“We played so well,” Dwight said. “Our forwards linked up and our defense kept them at the mid line all game.”

Hackelman had two goals in the victory, including one coming off a corner kick bhy Farley. Togiai had the other Timberwolf goal and Helmreich had a pair of assists.

With that win, the Wolves advance to the quarterfinal round of the Class 6A state playoffs and will host Sheldon Saturday at 5 p.m.

The Irish, who defeated South Medford 1-0 on Tuesday, are 12-3-2 on the season.

The winner of Saturday’s match will advance to Tuesday’s semifinal round of the state playoffs.

“Our ultimate goal is to win the state championship,” Togiai said. “But we’re taking it one game at a time.”

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