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The Timberwolves get goals from Maya Loudd and Olivia Bronson in a second round win over the Tigers.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Members of the Tualatin girls soccer team celebrate their second round playoff win over Tigard Wednesday, Nov. 2, at Tualatin High School.Onward and upward.

Despite a hard-fought battle and an inspired effort from a Tigard team unwilling to go quietly, the No. 5-seeded Tualatin girls soccer team advanced to the state quarterfinals with a 2-1 win over the Tigers Wednesday evening, Nov. 2, at Tualatin High School.

After what head coach Kale' Wright deemed an uninspired effort in a 2-0 first round win over Central Catholic four days prior, the Timberwolves' head coach couldn't have been happier about his team's approach against a Tigard team that he said played exceptional in defeat.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Tigard's Abigail Hergert and Tualatin's Avery Porter fight for position during the two teams' second round playoff game Wednesday, Nov. 2, at Tualatin High School."Tigard came here to win and are a much better team than when we played them in league," Wright said. "I'm so proud of my team. They played so well, played with heart and didn't give up at all."

The Wolves got goals from Maya Loudd and Olivia Bronson, the second of which broke a 1-1 tie with 19 minutes remaining.

In the wake of the victory, Loudd admitted a heightened level of both excitement and trepidation leading up to the game with their crosstown rivals.

"My nerves were high all week," Loudd said. "We beat them earlier in the season, but we know it's always hard to beat a team for a second time. But it was also super fun. We love to play in intense games and getting to play our rivals in the second round is something we'll never forget."

Tigard co-capatin Kiera Grant said the Tigers were equally excited leading up to the game, and added they sensed that Tualatin might be a bit nervous about a second matchup.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Tualatin's Maya Loudd and Tigard's Ella Erickson chase down a ball during the two teams' second round playoff game Wednesday, Nov. 2, at Tualatin High School."We were so excited," Grant said. "I think we surprised a lot of people when we won that game (first round opponent North Medford) and I don't think they were excited to play us because they saw how good we were doing. We were ready to go and I think they were scared."

Whether they were or weren't, neither team played fearfully. In fact, both teams seem to play with the type of controlled aggression that comes with confidence. But despite that confidence, Loudd may have been the most surprised person in or at the game when she broke the scoreless tie on a breakaway in the 44th minute.

"I literally didn't even look," she said after falling to the ground in the wake of her shot. "I laid on the ground and closed my eyes and just heard everyone screaming. I knew getting that first goal would relax us all, so it was big and the best feeling in the world."

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Tigard senior Jaiden Riodil fights to control the ball during the Tigers' game against Tualatin Wednesday, Nov. 2, at Tualatin High School.With the goal, the wind seemed gone from the Tigard faithful, but there was no quit in the Tiger team who tied the game nine minutes later when senior Abigail Hergert beat Tualatin goalkeeper Sarah Freedman to a ball inside the 18-yard box and tapped it over the charging goalie to ignite a raucous celebration on the field and reignite a Tigard rooting section in need of a spark.

"That goal was amazing and I was so excited," Grant said. "It's unfortunate that we couldn't hold on at the end, but we put it all out there and I couldn't be more proud of this team."

Bronson broke the tie eight minutes later when she finished a beautiful cross in front of the Tigard net, but Grant said the loss to the favored Timberwolves took nothing from what the Tigers had done this season.

"We absolutely exceeded expectations," Grant said. "I'm so proud of these girls, and the effort we put into this team…we're just a family."

Meanwhile, Tualatin moves on to face No. 4-seeded Sheldon Nov. 5, at a still yet to be determined time. But Wright said his team will be ready and he believes regardless of the opponent, they will have a chance.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Tigard's Katia Pender takes a free kick during the Tigers' game against Tualatin Wednesday, Nov. 2, at Tualatin High School."I'm excited," the Tualatin coach said. "We still need to finish better, but when we play like this we can take on any team."

Loudd agreed, but also—sounding more like a coach—said they won't be getting ahead of themselves when thinking about what's is and could potentially be ahead of them.

"All of us are always saying that we need to take it one game at a time," she said. "Otherwise, we'll get ahead of ourselves and that's when things happen."


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