Bowmen battle, but are edged by Grizzlies
SHERWOOD — The effort was there.
The opportunities were there.
But the goals weren't.
The Sherwood High School boys soccer team, despite turning in what looked to be a strong effort, was edged 2-0 by McMinnville in a Pacific Conference finale played Monday at Sherwood High School.
"We all played really hard and left it all out there," Sherwood sophomore forward Noah Bussanich said after the match. "We were in control the entire game, it was just little mistakes. That's what let us down."
"The kids worked their tails off," Sherwood coach Monty Hawkins said. "They just couldn't produce the final product. And this game can come back to get you. McMinnville got their goal on a set piece. But we kept pressuring."
With the victory, McMinnville improved to 3-2-1 in conference play (4-7-2 overall), putting the Grizzlies in third place in the final conference standings, giving them the Pacific's final automatic bid to the Class 6A state playoffs. Sherwood moved to 1-3-2 in conference matches (4-8-3 overall), putting the Bowmen in fifth place in the final Pacific standings.
Sherwood now has to wait and see if it will earn a wild card bid to the Class 6A state playoffs. The Bowmen are now at the No. 30 spot in the OSAA power rankings going into Tuesday's final day of regular-season play. If Sherwood stays at that spot, or improves, it likely will make the playoffs. But, if the Bowmen drop a spot in the power rankings, they'll miss postseason play.
"Hopefully, everything will play out and we'll still make it," Bussanich said.
In Monday's match, the Sherwood defense, including senior Isaac Woidyla, senior Justyn Price, senior Ethan Kelly and junior Nathan Merrill, among others, played strong from the start, allowing McMinnville only one shot on goal in the first half.
But the Grizzlies' defense was also strong, limiting the Bowmen's opportunities in the first 40 minutes. Sherwood did get a running header attempt by senior Caden Youngblut, coming off a throw in by Kelly, but the ball sailed left of the McMinnville goal with 20 minutes and 51 seconds left to play in the first half.
Sherwood senior Caden Brandt had a no-look header shot coming off a long free kick by Price, coming with 18:08 left in the half, that that shot also went wide left. Price's one-hop line drive attempt from 22 yards out, coming with 3:51 remaining in the first half also was off the mark, leaving the teams in a scoreless tie going into the intermission.
Both squads tried to turn up the offensive pressure in the second half. McMinnville senior goalkeeper Cole Stritzke had a leap in the middle of a crowd to grab a Price free kick with 32:25 left in the match. Soon after, Stritzke had to dive to block a header attempt by Youngblut coming off a corner kick by Sherwood senior Micah Muller.
On the other end of the field, Sherwood senior goalkeeper Conor Orlik had battled his way to grab a loose ball in a scramble in front of the Bowmen goal with 32:40 remaining to play.
But, with 24:30 left, the Grizzlies were able to break through. After the Bowmen deflected away a free kick cross, McMinnville junior Miclo Campos scored on a follow-up shot, putting his attempt from 25 yards away just inside the right post of the Bowmen goal, giving the Grizzlies a 1-0 lead.
Sherwood tried to answer back. A pair of shots by Muller sailed over the crossbar of the McMinnville goal. Then, with just 1:16 remaining, Stritzke dove to save a shot by Sherwood junior Sam Windheim.
McMinnville senior Gerardo Grimaldo scored on a shot into an open Bowmen goal with 1.5 seconds left to play, making the final score 2-0.
"Everyone game 110 percent," Bussanich said. "We left it all out there. We just have to put it in the back of the net next time."
"The kids should be applauded all season for how they battled," Hawkins said. They always gave it their best. They can hold their heads up high. I couldn't be prouder for how they battled and competed all season. Now, we'll wait and see what happens."
For the match, McMinnville had six shots on goal and two corner kicks. Sherwood had four shots on goal and five corner kicks.