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Apollo girls soccer gets into state quarterfinals

Stavigs goal sends Sunset onward


by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Sunset Apollos forward Sydney Mcrae (8) anticipates the ball kicked by Gresham Gophers Irene Medina (6) in round 2 of the 6A girls soccer playoffs at Sunset High School.

Sunset High dominated the action throughout the night against Gresham High on Tuesday. The Apollos kept the ball in the attacking third much of the second round match and played lockdown defense.

Still, Sunset needed a fluky goal in the 56th minute to pull out the 1-0 win and move into the third round of the Oregon Schools and Activities Association Class 6A playoffs.

“Gresham to their credit was really aggressive, physical, first to the ball,” Sunset coach Ben Durano said. “That kind threw us off and took us out of our system and the way we wanted to play. But, overall, we’ve seen those kinds of teams before. They try to out-physical us and sometimes that works.

“But we just hung in there, relied on our defense and looked for a way to get the score. We were fortunate that happened today.”

In the 49th minute, Gresham goalkeeper Ali Rojas went out to challenge a Sunset striker as she entered the 18-yard-box. Rojas smothered the ball, but had to crash into the Sunset attacker to do so. Rojas came up limping.

Seven minutes later, the Apollos took advantage, scoring a goal that had been meant as a pass.

Striker Kasey Stavig dribbled down the right side of the pitch. From 22-yards out, she sent a cross into the box. Still limping, Rojas was unable to move off her line quickly enough to defend the cross. The ball took a huge bounce on Sunset’s artificial turf, went over Rojas’ head and into the goal.

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Sunset Apollos forward Elly Williamson (16) challenges the ball against Gresham Gophers Sam Reed (2) in round 2 of the 6A girls soccer playoffs at Sunset High School.

“It was more of a cross,” Stavig said, laughing a little. “But, it went in. That’s all that matters. I was pretty surprised. Their keeper is really good. But that’s just what happened.”

During the first half, the match was delayed for more than half an hour. In the 16th minute, a Sunset striker collided with a Gresham defender and the Gophers defender went down. After being attended by coaches for a very long time, an ambulance was called.

By the time the match got underway again, the Apollos had a difficult time finding their rhythm.

“That’s always tough,” Durano said. “I tried to keep the girl focused, warmed them up a little bit. But that played into the first half. We didn’t really click in the first half.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Sunset Apollos forward Sydney Mcrae (19) tangles up with Gresham Gophers Irene Medina (6) in round 2 of the 6A girls soccer playoffs at Sunset High School.

The Gophers finished the season 10-4-2. Sunset (12-2-2) will move on to play Grant High on Saturday.

“We know Grant,” Durano said. “We expect another tough battle on Saturday. Grant has some really speedy strikers. But, we’re talented in the back. We have a few days to get ready for Grant, so we’ll be fine.”



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