TUALATIN — The calendar may have said it was September, but the intensity, as well as the level of play, made it feel like it was a November state playoff contest.
That shouldn't be a surprise. After all, it usually feels that way when the talented Sherwood and Tualatin high school girls soccer teams match up.
Last week's contest was no exception.
In a hard-fought battle, the Lady Bowmen, after falling behind 1-0, came back strong to get a 3-1 win over the Timberwolves in a non-league match played Thursday at Tualatin High School.
"Well, it was a tough one. We knew that it would be coming into it," Sherwood senior defender Jillian Leroux said after the contest. "Tualatin is our rival, and we always play hard against team. It's that way every single time. Both teams go all out when we play each other."
"Tualatin is like our rivals. They keep bringing it to us, and we appreciate that," Sherwood junior defender Morgen Fried said. "It's a game where we both just butt heads, and we give it our all. There's so much sacrifice and grit on this field. I appreciate playing them, because they don't give us any mercy or anything."
With the victory, the Lady Bowmen improved to 4-0 on the season.
"It feels so good. It feels awesome," Fried said. "We've been working so hard for this. We've been training really hard. We've been playing as a family, not as individuals. We've been working hard to get the results we wanted. We're going to try and keep going up."
"One of our goals, every game, is to get better and better," Leroux said. "Every practice we work harder and harder. We've had that trend so far, and we just want to keep going up until the state championship."
For Tualatin, last week's contest was the team's first match of the season.
"It's our first game, so I think we we did pretty good," said Tualatin junior forward Cally Togiai, who scored the Wolves' goal. "We just need to get more game-fit, and keep our chemistry going."
Togiai, and the fired-up Tualatin squad, got off to a fast start to the contest.
Togiai, after taking a flick pass from senior Abby Borg, scored on a shot from 25 yards away, putting the ball inside the left post of the Sherwood goal, giving the Wolves a 1-0 lead just 2 minutes and 16 seconds into the match.
"We were super hyped before the game, to get the season started," Togiai said. "To get a goal like that felt amazing, but I couldn't have done it without my team."
The Tualatin defense, featuring senior Aden Lynch, junior Dayanara Quiterio, senior Darci Chamberlin and freshman Maya Loudd, among others, kept the strong Bowmen attack in check over the next 14 minutes, with Timberwolf senior goalkeeper Sarah Hall making a pair of saves.
But, with 23:24 left to play in the first half, Sherwood sophomore Ellie Schmidt scored on a close-range sliding shot, coming off a pass from senior Loma McNeese, tying the match at 1-1.
Tualatin came close to regaining the lead, as Borg had her shot from 25 yards away smack hard into the right post of the Bowmen goal. The Wolves also got shots from Togiai and junior Payton Wesson in the last five minutes of the first half.
Meanwhile, Sherwood got shots on goal from Schmidt and senior Alysia Alvarado, with Hall making a save on both of those attempts, keeping the rivals tied at 1-1 going to halftime.
The Wolves went on the attack in the opening minutes of the second half, as Togiai hit a hard shot from 30 yards away, with Sherwood sophomore goalkeeper Tali Kozma diving to her right to knock the ball away. Kozma then made a leaping grab of Tualatin's ensuing corner kick.
The Lady Bowmen then took their first lead of the match, at 2-1, when Alvarado blasted a turnaround shot from 30 yards away into the upper right side of the Tualatin goal, coming with 26:38 left to play in the contest.
"Alysia scored, and made it 2-1, and that got us going," Leroux said. "She's been waiting for that goal all season, and she finally got it. That got everyone excited, and everyone wanted it more."
The fired-up Bowmen struck again. Sherwood freshman forward Ella Weathers, after taking a pinpoint upfield pass from junior Allison Alvarado, scored on an open close-range shot, giving the Lady Bowmen a 3-1 advantage with 13:32 left to play.
"That was a great goal," Leroux said. "It was just pure grit. She wanted it so bad."
From there, Sherwood was able to close out the victory.
"We went into it knowing it was their first game, so we knew we had to have energy and come out strong, so that's what we did," Leroux said. "Each game, we keep getting better, and we came out the stronger than we had all season. That's what we did."
The Lady Bowmen defense, including Leroux, Fried, junior Kendall Mickelson and senior Ava Boughey, among others was key, shutting down the Tualatin attack following the opening goal.
"We knew that No. 5 (Togiai) is an amazing player, and we had to step up to her, and mark her tight," Fried said. "We talked as a team and communicated. We encouraged each other, and that's how we got the result."
"Cally is an amazing player, and we knew she was a threat," Leroux said. "Right after she scored, we figured everything out. We talked to each other and said, 'that cannot happen again.' We had the whole game to recover, and that's what we did."
Sherwood had eight shots on goal and two corner kicks in the match. Tualatin had nine shots on goal and three corner kicks.
"If we just keep doing what we're doing in practice, and keep working hard, we'll be at the next level," Togiai said. "It definitely was fun. It's always intense when we play Sherwood."
The Wolves will be back in action on Tuesday, when they travel to Sandy for a non-league match starting at 7 p.m. Sherwood will next play on Wednesday, when it hosts West Salem in a non-league match starting at 7 p.m.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.