West Linn girls soccer falls 2-0 to Mountainside in state quarterfinals
The stakes had never been higher.
The competition had never been tougher.
So the West Linn girls soccer team stepped up to the challenge and battled.
In the end, the Lions dropped an extremely tight 2-0 decision to Mountainside in the Class 6A state quarterfinals at Mountainside High School on Saturday, Nov. 9.
While clearly disappointed with the season-ending loss, the Lions knew how well they'd played and just how close the matchup had been. West Linn and Mountainside each had six shots on goal, the Lions had a 4-0 edge in corner kicks and trailed just 1-0 until the Mavericks' second goal trickled over the endline in the game's final second.
"Mountainside is a really good team and I think it was a pretty good matchup," said West Linn senior Abby Schmidt, who will play next year at Baylor. "We lost to them 2-0 earlier this season so we knew it was going to be a battle, but we stepped up and we played a good game."
"They are a really, really good team. It's always fun to play them," added West Linn senior forward Jill Brody, a Vermont commit. "We played them earlier this season and it's the same 2-0 score, but both games were super hard and we all worked super hard. It's just fun to play against teams that are even better than us. We step up and always play even better as a team."
With the loss, sixth-ranked West Linn saw its five-game winning streak snapped and ended its year with a 12-4-1 overall record after finishing second in the Three Rivers League. No. 3 Mountainside, meanwhile, won for the seventh straight time and lifted its season record to 14-2-1 after placing second in the Metro League. The Mavericks advance to meet second-ranked South Eugene (16-0-1) in the state semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, at South Eugene High School.
West Linn and Mountainside traded jabs at the start of their Saturday contest, with the Mavericks getting an early shot from senior Nedya Sawan (stopped by West Linn sophomore goalkeeper Tori Garcia) and the Lions a pair of attacks from senior Kaylie Brown and Brody (both stopped by Mountainside senior keeper Sidney O'Billovich).
But the Mavericks broke through for the game's first goal with 32 minutes, 56 seconds remaining in the first half when Sawan collected the ball at the top left edge of the West Linn penalty box, took two touches to the center of the field, then hit a right-footed shot past Garcia to the left corner of the goal.
Undaunted, the Lions just kept on playing, creating three shots (two on goal) and a corner kick in the next 10 minutes. The best of those chances came just a minute after Sawan's goal when Brown got a shot from the center of the field just outside the Mavericks' 6-yard box but missed — barely — to the right.
While O'Billovich stopped shots by both junior Lauren Juenger and Brown, Mountainside very nearly scored again midway through the half. With 18:25 left before the break, Maverick junior Kiyah Williams launched a 38-yard free kick that bounced off the West Linn crossbar and out, and two minutes later, Sawan made a steal and missed a 10-yard one-on-one attempt against Garcia.
The second half was a pitched battle that saw West Linn tie Mountainside 2-2 in shots on goal and post another 2-0 edge in corner kicks, but the Mavericks created the more dangerous attempts and scored the period's lone goal.
West Linn's shots came from junior Jordyn Selleh with 27 minutes to play and by Brody with 14 minutes to go, while Mountainside hit another shot off the crossbar. Then, in the game's final second, with West Linn scrambling all over the field, Maverick freshman Nina Rhode collected the ball inside the Lions' penalty box and rolled a slow, diagonal shot through the West Linn defense to the far post for the final 2-0 advantage.
"They had two shots that were unlucky for us, but I think we stepped up and I'm really proud of how we performed today," Schmidt said.
As painful as the final result was for the senior-laden Lions, they chose instead to focus on the many successes they'd achieved in 2019.
"Last year, we lost a lot of really good players, so this year we were doing a lot of rebuilding, just building in spots where we were lacking," Brody said. "But we really stepped up this year. We always played with heart, effort and everybody wanted it out there. We did an amazing job just coming as far as we did."
"We had a really special group of girls this year," Schmidt said. "We were all like one big family out there. From the first practice, we really focused on not only being able to play together as a team, but being a team on and off the field and I think that our friendship and our bond is kind of what got us to this point, along with the skill that we have on the field. This is a really special group of girls and I'm going to miss them all next year."
Playing their last games for West Linn were seniors Emily Weber, Lauren Jones, Schmidt, Brody, Rosie Larsen, Abby Andrews-Wolfe, Brown, Carmel Corrigan, Maddy Gross, Emily Baltazar, Grace Winjum, Lauren Swineheart and Teagan Sheffield.
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