Tualatin girls win big to claim league title
TUALATIN — The Three Rivers League championship.
The Tualatin High School girls soccer team wanted it.
The Timberwolves worked hard for it.
And, thanks to an impressive effort, they got it.
Tualatin clinched its first league championship since the 2015 season by powering its way to a 3-0 win over Lakeridge in a Three Rivers League showdown played Thursday, Oct. 24 at Tualatin High School.
"This is everything," Tualatin senior midfielder Abby Borg, who scored one of the Wolves' three goals in the win. "This has been our goal since we ended last season. We established that early on. We knew what we wanted, and I'm really proud of the team. We pushed hard in practice, we pushed hard in every game, and we finished — we did it."
"This was huge," said Tualatin junior forward Cally Togiai, who scored the Wolves' first two goals. "We've been wanting to win league ever since this summer, and we've been working hard, and we finally achieved our goal. It feels good. I feel good, it was a team 'dub.'"
With the victory, Tualatin improved to 5-0-1 in TRL play (11-1-1 overall), putting the Wolves alone in first place in the league standings, four points ahead of second-place West Linn (4-2) with one match to play.
"From all the way in the back, to the middle and forward, we connected well," Borg said. "We don't play boot ball, we like to work the ball through the midfield. Cally really showed up. Everyone showed up."
"We were home, the fans were here, and we were excited to get the W," a smiling Togiai said.
Lakeridge moved to 3-2-1 in TRL matches (8-2-3 overall), putting the Pacers in third place in the league standings.
"We were really hoping for a win, but just a second loss, that's not bad," Lakeridge junior defender Jenna Barouh said.
"I really thought we put in a lot of effort," Lakeridge junior midfielder Bella Yannello said. "I don't think this is reflective of our whole season. It's just our second loss, and that's not too bad. These past few matches have been a real battle."
Both squads looked fired up from the start of the match. Tualatin got shots on goal from Borg and junior Lauren Oliva in the first seven minutes of the match, while Lakeridge got a shot on goal from junior Payton Moffenbeier.
Soon after, the Wolves were able to break through. Togiai, after taking a pass from Borg, hit a bending shot from 30 yards away on the right side. The ball, after taking a wicked, spinning bounce off the turf, bounded inside the left post of the Lakeridge goal, giving Tualatin a 1-0 lead with 24 minutes and 29 seconds left to play in the first half.
"Scoring the first goal in a big game is a different feeling, but you always get that rush of adrenaline," Togiai said. "You get want to keep going and get more."
The Pacers tried to answer back, getting shots junior Sara Wittig, junior Emma Krauss and senior Rachel Mindt in the final 20 minutes of the first half. But the Tualatin defense, including senior Aden Lynch, freshman Maya Loudd, freshman Avery Porter, senior Darci Chamberlain and senior goalkeeper Sarah Hall were all up to the task, preserving the Wolves' 1-0 lead going into halftime.
Lakeridge came out fired up to start the second half. The Pacers got a pair of shots on goal from Yannello as well as a shot by sophomore Tessa French in the first four minutes of the half. But Lakeridge couldn't convert on any of those attempts.
The Wolves then took over again. Togiai upped the lead to 2-0 when she scored on a free-kick shot from 28 yards away, blasting a line-drive attempt inside the right post of the Pacer goal with 28:20 remaining in the match.
"Usually, I just pick my spot," Togiai said. "I've been practicing for awhile, and I trust myself."
Soon after, Tualatin got another shot on goal by junior Payton Wesson, with Pacer sophomore goalkeeper Abby Pressnell making the save.
But, with 23:27 left to play, Tualatin wouldn't be denied. Lynch, with the ball on the left side, hit a cross to the center. Togiai looked like she was going to take a shot off the cross, but she let the ball go by her, and right to Borg, who put her shot from 22 yards away just over the reach of Pressnell and into the goal, upping the lead to 3-0.
"Oh my gosh. It was an amazing cross from Aden, and I thought, at first, that Cally was going to take it, but she let it through," Borg said. "I'm not left-footed, but I thought, 'I'm just going to go for it,' and I kicked it with my left. It was a big game. It was a big deal that we scored, and I wanted to do that for my team."
"The Wolves seemed to ride the momentum the rest of the way, getting close calls on shots by junior Alyvia Embree and sophomore Brook Burke before celebrating the 3-0 win, and the league championship.
"This was really fun," Borg said.
Tualatin, for the match, had 15 shots on goal and four corner kicks. Lakeridge had seven shots on goal and two corner kicks.
I thought we put up a good fight, and we put it all out there," Barouh said. "All over the field we really worked hard as a team, and the result just wasn't in our favor tonight."
"We learn something from every match," Yanello said. "We're going to keep our heads high and see the best happen."
The Wolves will finish their regular-season schedule Tuesday with a 7 p.m. home league match with Oregon City. After that, Tualatin will take high hopes into the Class 6A state playoffs.
"Going into the playoffs, we know that we want to be in that championship game," Borg said. "I think, with this team, how we trust each other, and being family, we can make it there."
"Obviously, we want to win out," Togiai said. "We're on a high right now, but we have to get back to work, and just keep winning."
Lakeridge will finish its regular-season slate Tuesday with a 7 p.m. home match with Tigard.
"We'll definitely learn from this and come back strong for the playoffs, and hopefully beat them," Barouh said. "For sure, we'd want a rematch."
The Class 6A state playoffs start on Nov. 2 with first-round matches.
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