TIGARD — As usual, play was intense.
As usual, the action was fierce.
As always, emotions ran high as the rival Tigard and Tualatin high school girls soccer teams faced off on the pitch.
But this time, for the first time since 2015, the Timberwolves got to celebrate a victory over their rivals.
Tualatin, behind a strong second-half effort, pulled away to get a 4-1 win over the Tigers in a Three Rivers League opener played Tuesday at Tigard High School.
"It felt great. It was the first time beating Tigard for our seniors," said Tualatin sophomore forward Brook Burke, who scored a pair of goals in the win. "I think, in the second half, we really came together as a team, and we were able to push the ball up the field. The communication, overall, just brought us crazy amounts of energy and intensity in the second half."
"It was pretty intense the entire game," Tualatin senior defender Aden Lynch said. "We had a really good halftime talk, and came out full-swinging. We got three goals in the second half, so that was really eventful."
With the win, its seventh straight victory, Tualatin not only got off to a 1-0 start to league play, but the Wolves also improved to 7-1 on the season.
"It's a huge win," Burke said. "I think all of us really tried to want it more than they did, so that felt pretty good."
"We've definitely come together a lot more," Lynch said. "Our preseason was pretty successful, and we want to win league this year."
Tigard moved to 5-2-1 on the season with the setback.
"Our team played really, really strong throughout the game," Tigard junior forward Lydia Emory said. "We just had a couple slip-ups in the back, but I thought we played really well."
Tualatin struck early in Tuesday's league opener. Burke, after taking a pass from Lynch, scored her first goal of the match in the opening couple of minutes, giving the Wolves a quick 1-0 lead.
That would be all of the scoring in the first half.
But Tualatin would score again early in the second half. This time, it was junior Cally Togiai scoring, after dribbling down toward the Tigard goal and knocking the ball into the net, upping the lead to 2-0.
Togiai played a part in the next Tualatin goal, as well, as, from the left side, she hit a bending shot in front of the Tigard goal. Burke, in the right place at the right time, was able to knock the ball past the goal line, upping the lead to 3-0 with 29 minutes and 17 seconds left to play in the match.
"Cally Togiai hit a great ball right in, and I was on the back post quick enough to put it in with my foot," Burke said. "It felt great. I was pretty hyped up. We talked at halftime about hitting the balls in the back post, so, knowing that I listened to my coach and put it in felt really good."
Tigard tried to fight back, getting a shot on goal by Emory with 23:31 left in the match.
Then, with 16:56 left to play, Tigard senior Anette Hernandez Bran was fouled in the penalty box. Tiger freshman Jaiden Riodil took the ensuing penalty kick. Tualatin senior goalie Sarah Hall, diving to her left, was able to block the attempt, but Riodil, smartly following the shot, was able to knock a rebound attempt into the Tualatin goal, cutting the lead to 3-1.
Tigard, trying to follow up on the goal, got another shot by Riodil with 12:41 left to play, but Hall made the save.
The Wolves then got an insurance goal when Togiai fired a perfectly-time through ball to a breaking Taylor Morgan. And the senior forward hit an open shot from 13 yards away on the right side, putting the ball just inside the left post of the Tigard goal, upping the lead to 4-1 with 7:01 left to play.
"I think the midfield really started communicating, and we played some good through balls," Lynch said. "Cally had some really good passes to the other forwards. Her pass to Taylor was amazing, and Taylor finished it perfectly."
Soon after, Tualatin was celebrating its league-opening victory over its rival.
"This was amazing," Burke said. "To do it for my seniors, and get that win, I loved it. It was a good, intense game. We have a big rivalry with this team, so it's definitely push and shove when it comes to getting the ball."
The Tualatin defense, including Lynch, freshman Mya Loudd, freshman Avery Porter and senior Darci Chamberlin, among others, seemed to be up to the physical challenge.
"It was a really good battle," Lynch said of the defensive effort. "I think we communicated well together, and fought our hardest."
Meanwhile, Tigard is looking to learn and improve from the contest.
"We need to move forward as a team, instead of individually," Emory said. "It was extremely intense. It was really physical."
Both teams will be back in action on Thursday. Tigard will host St. Mary's Academy, and Tualatin will be home to face Lake Oswego in league matches starting at 7 p.m. On Tuesday, Tualatin will travel to Canby for a 7 p.m. match, and Tigard will play at Lake Oswego at 7:30 p.m.
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