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Resurgent Warriors tie tough Apollos


Sunset still aiming to earn an automatic bid to the playoffs

CEDAR MILL — Last week’s Sunset at Aloha girls soccer match featured two teams with very different pedigrees.

Sunset has been among the Metro League elite in recent years, playing its way into the Class 6A state championship game a year ago. Aloha, meanwhile, was on a nine-year Metro losing streak until just a week earlier.

by: MILES VANCE - GOING HARD - Aloha junior Laura Nguyen (left) heads the ball away from Sunset sophomore Crystal Kyanko during the Warriors' 0-0 tie with the Apollos in Metro League action at Sunset High School on Oct. 18.

Yet these two different teams from two very different places ended up in the exact same place last week — tied 0-0 in their Metro contest at Sunset High School. With one round left in the league season, the tie and a 3-0 Monday loss to Jesuit left the Warriors at 1-7-1 and sixth in league play.

“This year, (the key has) been working really, really hard in practice and staying consistent in what we do,” said Aloha senior forward Mary Pierce. “When we won against Beaverton, it brought us more together. We realized we can win.”

“It’s just the amount of effort we put in every game, and no matter what, we never let down,” said Aloha junior midfielder Laura Nguyen. “We just keep on trying.”

Sunset added a 4-0 win over Beaverton on Monday and took its record to 2-3-4, just one point out of third place and the league’s final automatic berth to the Class 6A state playoffs.

“We definitely need to work on our chemistry. That’s been a big problem,” said Sunset senior defender Mary Grace Roselli. “That’s just something we need to work on, especially up top.”

“We just need to make sure we have good communication, and then it’s just chemistry like (Roselli) said,” added Sunset junior keeper Taylor Luty. “We just need to work together more.”

As emphasized by the day’s final score, the two defenses definitely held the upper hand. That was never more true than in last week’s first half, where Luty and the Apollos thwarted Aloha’s offense at every turn, and the Warriors and keeper Ali Graham returned the favor almost as often.

Sunset had the best scoring chance of the game’s first 40 minutes, this when Sunset’s Adalina Bajrami sent a corner kick into the Aloha penalty box and teammate Elly Williamson just missed knocking home a header.

There was more of the same — OK, less of the same as far as offense goes — in the second half, with the Warriors creating just two shots (one on goal by senior Katie Newton midway through the half), while Sunset’s best chances came on two Bajrami corner kicks in the game’s final 12 minutes, neither of which came to fruition.

“I think we could have played a lot better,” Luty said. “We needed to have better forward runs to make sure we get enough shots. And we needed to keep the ball on the ground and just play a lot harder next time.”

“We’ve just had problems this year coming to play, especially against teams that we know we can beat,” Roselli said. “But all of the freshman stepped up and played well so that was good.”

For their part, the Warriors left celebrating their defense and determined to keep improving.

“Our defense is really strong this year,” Nguyen said. “I’m really proud of us.”

“I think we just need to get it in the back of the net. I need to get it in the back of the net,” Pierce said. “We need more scoring opportunities in the box, with corners and throw-ins.”

In Metro play tonight (Thursday), Aloha hosts Southridge at 7:30 p.m. and Sunset plays at Westview at 7 p.m. The Class 6A Play-In Round is set for Tuesday, with teams, times and locations yet to be determined.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to www.milesvance.exposuremanager.com.