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VC girls back to chase after first state title

Top-ranked OES awaits in Saturdays state-title match-up


HILLSBORO — There’s hard work ahead, but the Valley Catholic girls soccer team is ready to go where no Valiant team has gone before — all the way to a state championship.

Valley Catholic knocked off Glide 1-0 in Tuesday’s Class 3A/2A/1A state semifinals at Hare Field, and in the process, won a berth in Saturday’s state title contest. There, the Valiants will face a familiar foe in Special District 1 co-champion Oregon Episcopal School at 10:30 a.m. at Liberty High School.

by: MILES VANCE - WINNING - Valley Catholic's Sarah Connelly heads upfield while defended by Glide’s Madison Gladding during the Valiants’ 1-0 win in the Class 3A/2A/1A state semifinals on Tuesday at Hare Field in Hillsboro.

“I’m really happy it’s OES because I know this team can play and I know we can get this win and we owe our seniors this state championship,” said VC sophomore forward Sarah Connelly, who scored her team’s lone goal on Tuesday.

“We’re not going to change anything,” added senior midfielder Meg Rapp. “We’re just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing all season, which is play our game and get those goals in.”

While Tuesday’s win read just 1-0 on the scoreboard, the second-ranked Valiants (who improved to 12-0-2 with the win) dominated the contest, controlling possession throughout and hammering out 13 shots on goal while the Wildcats had just three.

Still, it took a long time for the Valiants to get that all-important one goal up on the scoreboard — 58 minutes and 53 seconds to be exact. But there, with 21:07 left in the second half, Connelly controlled the ball near the left endline, took one touch, then sent a curving right-footed shot around Glide keeper Hayley Livingston, off the inside edge of the far post and into the back of the net.

“Right before we got our goal, I was a little nervous thinking ‘I don’t want to go into penalties because those are just awful,’ but we just had to settle down and take our chances and we knew it would come eventually,” Connelly said. “It felt so good seeing that ball go in the back of the net. It was just a chance that I took and I’m glad that it went in.”

“Going into the second half, we knew there would be more chances and that’s how we got ours,” Rapp added. “I heard it hit the goalpost and I thought the keeper was going to get to it ... but watching it hit the back of the net was good.”

Now, the Valiants can finally set their sights on the Class 3A/2A/1A state championship match and a decisive third battle against the top-ranked Aardvarks (12-1-2). In their two regular-season games, VC tied OES 2-2 and 1-1.

“We’re ready. We’ve been working up to this,” Connelly said. “Our first goal was to win state and to beat OES.”

“There’s no better way to end the season,” Rapp added. “We’re looking forward to getting that first one.”

Sixth-ranked Glide, the second-place team from Special District 4, ended its year at 13-2-0.

Valley Cath. 6, Cascade Christ. 0

HILLSBORO — Valley Catholic left nothing to chance.

Hosting Cascade Christian at Hare Field in Saturday’s state quarterfinals, Valley Catholic took the first of what it hopes are three successful steps in the 2012 postseason, scoring three goals in each half to eliminate the Challengers 6-0.

“It’s great start. We were very ready,” said Valley Catholic senior Emily Gabourel, who had two goals in the win. “We had a week off from games and we practiced a lot for this.”

“We practiced hard and stayed focused the whole week,” said Connelly, who scored two goals and also had an assist against Cascade Christian. “We worked up for this game and we were ready to play.”

The Valiants showed it, though it did take them a while to break through. VC peppered shots at Cascade keeper Jessica Weber right from the get-go on Saturday, but didn’t stick one in the back of the net until Connelly connected with 10:44 to go in the opening half. There, she took the ball up the right end line and angled a shot at goal that Weber initially caught, but then dropped, allowing the ball to bounce in for a 1-0 lead.

And that seemed to open the floodgates for the Valiants. They scored again just 1:06 later when Chelsea Alsdorf played a bouncing pass into the CC penalty box that Gabourel ran onto and knocked past Weber to the left corner to make it 2-0.

VC’s next goal came even more quickly — just 40 seconds later — when Alsdorf played a through ball to Reilly Blood on the left flank and she touched it past the charging Weber for a 3-0 lead at halftime.

The scoring picked right up where it left off for VC in the second half, with Connelly notching her second goal just two minutes into the half. Gabourel came through next, running the ball into an open net after Alsdorf flicked it past Weber with 20 minutes left to play. And finally, Maricela Jaroch chipped in her team’s final goal after running down a long pass with 8:49 left on the clock.

“This is a great set-up for the next two games we hope to get to,” Gabourel said, “We’re peaking at the right time.”

“We knew that we had a huge game and we knew we couldn’t think anything other than it was the best team in the state,” Connelly added. “We haven’t been here for a while so we needed to work and it showed.”

To see complete photo galleries from these games, please go to milesvance.exposuremanager.com.




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