Forest Grove girls advance to state semifinals with 2-1 victory over Sherwood
Someone had to lose.
Forest Grove and Sherwood battled the wind, the rain, and each other to a 1-1 tie through regulation and two 10-minute overtimes before Vikings backup goalkeeper Paige Everson stopped the Bowmen's final penalty kick attempt, setting-off a raucous Forest Grove celebration and sending the Vikings to the state semifinals.
"These girls deserve it," Forest Grove head coach Ignacio Olvera said after the game. "They put in the work, they listened, they believed, and now they're going to the next round."
Vikings goalkeeper Aleena Calvert — who made two game-saving saves late in the second half before yielding to Everson for penalty kicks — said she was both excited and nervous throughout the game, but was having a hard time describing her emotions for her team as they continue on through the state playoffs.
"I feel amazing," Calvert said. "I'm just happy to contribute because this team is so awesome. We wanted to be here and we've made it this far, what can I say? I'm psyched."
Forest Grove struck first, getting a goal from sophomore Joanna Long off of a corner kick in the 17th minute. But the goal seemed to inspire the home Bowmen who ratcheted-up the intensity shortly after and got an equalizer from freshman Savannah Leahy shortly before halftime.
The second half was played predominantly in the midfield for the first 20 minutes, but in the last 20 was fraught with Sherwood opportunities.
The Bowmen's Amanda Gribble hit the crossbar with a shot in the 51st minute, then Calvert made two incredible saves in both the 68th and 73rd minute, the latter of which came on a breakaway that the Vikings keeper had to go low and to her left to corral.
Forest Grove too had its chances, but in the end the game seemed destined for penalty kicks — something no one really likes.
"It's the hardest way to lose a game," Sherwood head coach Katie Hartman said. "There's a lot of pressure and I thought we did well. Both keepers made great saves, both teams struck some great balls, it was just a tough loss."
Calvert handed the proverbial baton to Everson for PKs, and stopped two Sherwood shots — the last of which spelled victory for the Vikes.
Olvera said that using Everson was always in the cards, and added that she responded as he knew she would — exceptionally.
"She (Everson) wants to take PKs, and she came through," Olvera said. "I told her before she went in, 'hey, go out there and show us what you can do. It's your time to shine and she did."
Hartman said the loss had no bearing on the pride she — still — has for her team, nor did it take away from what was an otherwise great season.
"We had a tough preseason and we scheduled that way on purpose, but the girls battled through and grew and supported each other," Hartman said. "Our seniors did a great job leading us and I'm proud of how far they came. I couldn't be happier and pleased with their efforts. This is difficult, but they should hold their heads high."
That same pride was evident from Olvera as well, who not only spoke glowingly of his team as a whole, but also the manner in which they play the game.
"These girls don't play football, they play soccer," the Vikings coach said. "Some teams just kick the ball long, we don't do that. We play out of the back, we go to the middle, we look for the forwards, we work the ball."
And that was beneficial on a night when everyone needed to keep moving. With the temperature in the mid-40s and the rain and wind relentless for much of the night, it was a battle of wills for the players forced to play through what were truly horrendous conditions.
"I heard some of the girls complaining a bit about not feeling their toes and fingers, and it really was miserable," Olvera said. "But they did it, and they deserve this win."
Calvert had little good to say about the weather as well, but in the end said it made it all that much more worth it — the win that is.
"I was freezing, my teeth were chattering and I could barely move," she said. "But ya know, I feel pretty good now."
Forest Grove will play Beaverton in their semifinal Tuesday, Nov. 9, with the time yet to be determined.
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.