West Linn girls soccer wins again, beats Grant 1-0 on Tuesday
The dream is alive for the West Linn girls soccer team.
The Lions, hosting Grant in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs on Tuesday, Nov. 5, scored once in the first half against the Generals and made that goal stand up for a 1-0 win in cool, foggy conditions at West Linn High School.
"it feels great," said West Linn junior defender Cami Fulcher, who teamed with Asia Hardin and Maddie Gross on the back line and goalkeepers Emily Weber and Tori Garcia to shut out Grant. "Props to them — the last seven minutes, they were pushing it down (the field), but we stayed strong and I'm really proud of us."
"Oh my gosh. It's like a breath of fresh air, honestly," said West Linn senior forward Rosie Larsen, who scored the game's lone goal. "That was very stressful (at the end of the game), but we pulled through and got the win."
With Tuesday's win — the team's fifth straight — and its 4-1 victory over Central Catholic in their Saturday, Nov. 2, playoff opener at West Linn, the sixth-ranked Lions improved to 12-3-1 overall. Next up, the Lions will face third-ranked Mountainside (13-2-1 overall after finishing second in the Metro League) in the state quarterfinals on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Mountainside High School.
"They're a really good team, but since we played them last time, we're a totally different team," Fulcher said, noting her team's 2-0 loss at Mountainside back on Sept. 9.
"I think we just have to come together," Larsen said. "It could be (the seniors') last game so we have to fight, play like we play as a team and work together."
In Tuesday's win over Grant, the Lions broke through for the game's lone goal just 10 minutes, 2 seconds into the contest. West Linn midfielder Kaylie Brown started the scoring play with a corner kick from the right side; her kick soared across the goal mouth and Larsen flew in to head it past Grant keeper Emma Hamdan for a 1-0 lead.
"We're really dangerous on corner kicks and set plays and I just took advantage of it," Larsen said. "I got it to my head, obviously, and knocked it in somehow."
While neither team scored in the remaining 69:58, it doesn't mean there wasn't excitement along the way. In the remaining minutes of the first half, Brown had a dangerous one-on-one chance set up by Larsen that Hamdan stopped at the left post with 26 minutes remaining in the half. And then, with two minutes left in the half, Grant's Lauren Polte ran onto a bouncing ball in a crowd 10 yards away from the Lions' goal and hit a looping shot that missed just high over the right post.
In the second half, each team had one great, but unfulfilled, opportunity on the offensive end. West Linn had the first of those when Abby Schmidt sent a free kick into the Grant penalty box and Campbell Sheffield missed just high with a header in the 69th minute. The Generals' chance came with five minutes remaining when Grace Chambers made a long throw-in from the left sideline and teammate Elle Frazier saw her short-range shot deflected away before it got to keeper Tori Garcia.
"I was just like 'Get it out. Get it out. Get it out,'" Fulcher said. "We said 'Play it safe. When in doubt, kick it out.'"
With the loss, the No. 22 Generals saw their season end at 8-7-1 after placing fourth in the Portland Interscholastic League.
West Linn 4, Central Catholic 1: The Lions opened the second season with a rock-solid win over No. 27 Central Catholic at West Linn High School on Saturday, Nov. 1. The Rams ended their season at 5-9-1 overall after finishing third in the Mt. Hood Conference.
West Linn started fast against the Rams, taking a 1-0 lead in the third minute when Brown took a corner kick from the right side and curled it into the goal just beyond the reach of the Central Catholic goalkeeper.
"(An) amazing, well-placed shot," said West Linn coach Lauren Pyrch.
While the Lions continued to dominate possession throughout the opening half, they didn't score again and led just 1-0 at the break.
West Linn boosted its advantage to 2-0 in the second half when Logan Murai sent a corner kick toward the Central Catholic goal and Brown knocked the ball home from a crowd in the 6-yard box.
Central Catholic answered with a terrific free kick from well outside the 18-yard box to cut West Linn's lead to 2-1, and at the same time, told the Lions that the outcome of the game was still in jeopardy.
Energized by the Rams' score, West Linn pushed its lead back to two goals when Abby Schmidt redirected a header into the net off a well-placed cross from Jill Brody. And finally, West Linn made it 4-1 off a long throw-in from Murai to midfielder Lauryn Swinehart; Swinehart controlled the ball in front of the Rams' keeper and kicked it in from there.
For the game, West Linn outshot Central Catholic 19-5.
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