Sherwood girls roll in conference finale
SHERWOOD — The Sherwood High School girls soccer team is looking to do some big things in the upcoming Class 6A state playoffs.
Well, if the Lady Bowmen's regular-season finale was any indication, then they very well may be ready to reach their goal.
Sherwood finished its regular-season slate by rolling to a 6-2 win over McMinnville in a Pacific Conference match played Monday in front of a Senior Night crowd at Sherwood High School.
"It went really well, even though we gave up a couple," said Sherwood senior forward Loma McNeese, who had one goal and three assists in the victory. "We finished our shots, that we've been working on all season. We've been working on our one- and two-touch a lot in practices."
"I think it was good," Sherwood senior defender Jillian Leroux said. "It was a little rough sometimes, but we pulled it off, and that's what really matters."
With the loss, McMinnville finished conference play at 3-1-2 (5-5-4 overall), putting the Grizzlies in second place in the final conference standings. Sherwood improved to 6-0 in conference play (13-1-1 overall), putting the Lady Bowmen all alone atop the conference standings.
"Having this being Senior Night, we wanted to play for each other, with this being our last league game as seniors," Leroux said. "So that was our main goal, to win league and be undefeated on our field."
Sherwood will next be in action on Saturday, when it hosts a Class 6A first-round playoff match against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.
"We're going to put in a lot of work," McNeese said of the upcoming state playoffs. "We're going to work on our conditioning. Other than that, it's about staying positive. We're looking for the 'ship."
"We definitely need to pick up our training," Leroux said. "We need to train faster and harder, and focus more. Our goal is to win the championship, so we have to focus on that."
The Lady Bowmen sure seemed to be focused, right from the start of Monday's conference finale.
Sherwood, after getting shots on goal in the opening minutes from both McNeese and junior Allison Alvarado, grabbed a quick 1-0 lead when senior Alysia Alvarado scored on a shot from 14 yards out, putting the ball into the left side of the McMinnville goal with 34 minutes and 44 seconds left to play in the first half.
Sherwood, after getting shots from senior Isa Frost and junior Kendall Mickelson, struck again when Allison Alvarado took a lob pass from McNeese from the right side, and scored on a shot from 13 yards away on the left side, giving the Lady Bowmen a 2-0 lead with 30:03 remaining in the first half.
Allison Alvarado then scored again, from 14 yards away on the right side, coming off another assist by McNeese, upping the Sherwood lead to 3-0 with 23:18 left in the opening half.
"We know that we can connect really well," McNeese said. "It's all about confidence and trusting each other. I think we do a really good job of that."
McMinnville cut the lead to 3-1 on a goal by freshman Nawli Zaragoza, coming with 20:00 left in the half. Sherwood answered back with a goal by freshman Ava Weisenfluh, coming with 3:24 left before halftime.
McNeese, after many close calls, then scored, putting a shot from 14 yards away into the right side of the McMinnville goal, giving the Lady Bowmen a 5-1 advantage with 2:41 left in the first half.
"Finally," McNeese said with a laugh. "It felt good. It was a little frustrating (before), but I helped other people get the ball to the back of the net, and that feels good, too."
McNeese came close to scoring again before the half ended, as her free kick shot from 30 yards away smacked off the crossbar of the McMinnville goal with 1:12 left before the break, leaving the Sherwood with a 5-1 lead at halftime.
The second half saw the Grizzlies cut the lead to 5-2 on a long-range free-kick goal by senior Hannah Galan coming with 31:46 left in the match. Less than two minutes later, Sherwood freshman Ella Weathers scored on a rebound goal from close range, after she had a shot blocked following a pass by McNeese, making the final score 6-2.
"We could have had a couple more, but six is good, and a win is a win," Leroux said.
Sherwood, for the match, had 22 shots on goal and nine corner kicks. McMinnville had six shots on goal and no corner kicks.
The Lady Bowmen, if they win their state playoff first-round match on Saturday, will host a state playoff second-round match on Tuesday.
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