by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - The Sunset girls soccer team celebrates their 1-0 overtime state semifinal win over Westview on Tuesday. The Apollos will take on Tualatin in Saturday in the state championship.

Sunset freshman Riley Prillwitz waited patiently on the bench for more than 50 minutes Tuesday, hoping to make an impact in the Apollos’ win-or-go-home 6A state semifinal showdown with Westview.

When head coach Ben Durano subbed in Prillwitz, the turbo-charged forward — who swung from the JV team most of the season — made sure her effect would forever be cemented in Apollo girls’ soccer lore.

After 90 scoreless minutes between the two Metro League rivals, including half an overtime period, Prillwitz took a pass from Kasey Stavig, and saw that no Wildcat defender was in her section of the left side of the pitch. The freshman touched the ball to herself, attacked the open space and punctured the pill to the far post to go up 1-0.

With time running out, a visibly fatigued Westview squad that gave every ounce of strength and energy it had in the contest couldn’t mount a last-gasp comeback attempt. Sunset’s defense stopped the Wildcats, and in turn, punched their ticket to the 6A state championship game against Tualatin this Saturday at 6 p.m. at Hillsboro Stadium.

“You don’t really think about it, you just go, ‘Oh, I have to shoot, so I’ll shoot’,” said Prillwitz. “I knew they had a disadvantage because they were all tired, and I could pass them even if they weren’t tired. When I was on JV, I’d dribble through the backline and shoot like that. It kind of felt natural to me.”

“She’s worked so hard to get up here and play with us, I wouldn’t want anyone else to get that goal,” said senior forward Taylor Coon of Prillwitz. “She’s faster than everyone on our team. We needed her up top, and it worked out well. She’s definitely a player to watch as she gets older.”by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset freshman Amanda Carpenter controls a ball in the second half of the Apollos 2-0 state semifinal win over Westview on Tuesday.

“She’s like a little firecracker,” said senior goalie Taylor Luty of Prillwitz. “She’s the fastest person I’ve ever seen in my life. And, with that left foot, you can’t beat that. She’s had so many opportunities. She deserved that.”

Going into this season, Prillwitz felt she belonged on varsity all along, but said her insertion to Tuesday’s high-intensity outing was the perfect way to etch her name onto the varsity roster for good.

Prillwitz’s fast feet and fresh legs coming off the pine paid big dividends for Sunset, who didn’t want to leave its championship dream in the hands of a shootout.

“When (head coach Ben Durano) put me in, I knew he trusted me,” said Prillwitz. “I felt that I should be trusted, and I didn’t want to let him down. He told us to leave it all out on the field and play like it’s our last game because we didn’t know if we were going to be in the finals at all. I just felt really motivated from that.”

Having beat Westview twice during the regular season, Coon and company were confident they could close the Wildcats’ season with a strong team effort. But, as the senior defender pointed out, Westview came out a different team than the one that appeared during Metro League play.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset senior Grace Mettler heads a ball in the air during the Apollos 1-0 extra time win over Westview.

They respected the Wildcats’ new-found self-confidence, and matched it with the energy they picked up from beating Grant, 3-0, in the quarterfinals. When the second half of overtime rolled around, Sunset’s stamina and staying power were decidedly the difference between taking off that Apollo jersey for the last time and moving onto to Saturday where Tualatin awaits them.

“We could tell they (Westview) were tired in the overtime,” said Coon. “We just took it to them. We knew what we had to do. We’re just so pumped. It’s our last year, we have to win state. We have the best players in the’s going to be us.”

“We showed them that we were the better team, and we were more fit, willing to win state this year,” added Luty. “The hard work we put into practice came onto the field. We train to play 120 minutes, so might as well work hard and win in overtime because we deserve it. It was just hard work overall throughout the team.” by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset forward Alex Bibo cuts around a Westview defender in the first half of the Apollos 1-0 overtime win over the Wildcats in the 6A state semifinals.

Westview emptied its collective tank with players like Jadyn McMillan, Mallory Ashcraft, Reed Richardson and Michelle Maddox laying it out on the line for their squads. Sophomore Hanalyn Sypher was a stalwart inside the posts, stopping three shots in the second half that could’ve ended the Wildcats’ season prematurely.

“I feel like we really fought to our full potential,” said Sypher. “Sunset did have a great goal, but we were really ready and coming out hard. It was just a good goal by Sunset to finish off the game.”

The Wildcats upended top-seeded Tigard and No. 8 on their way to the semifinals where, unfortunately for Westview, the third time wasn’t the charm against the tough-minded Apollos.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westviews Laura Camp passes the ball off to a teammate during the Wildcats playoff loss to Sunset.

“Our team has really clicked together,” said Sypher. “We can read each other, and that’s one of the things that got us so far in the playoffs. We have a good sense of what the other is going to do. So, good communication, and hard work got us to here. Hopefully, next time, that’ll be a little more.”

Sunset lost 1-0 to Tualatin two years ago in the 6A quarterfinals on what Coon and Luty called “a total fluke goal.” During that 2011 contest, the Timberwolves crossed a shot into the Apollos’ goalie box. One of Sunset’s defenders blocked the ball with her hands instead of her head, which led to a penalty kick that Tualatin put away for the game’s only goal.

As sophomores at the time, the two now senior captains have never quite been able to get over that defeat. Though the Apollos dethroned the Timberwolves last season, extracting a measure of revenge, Coon and Luty aren’t done with Tualatin by any means.

In fact, they’re downright giddy to avenge a loss that’s boiled in their minds for two years.

“We’re not going to repeat history, we’re going to kill them this time,” stated Coon. “It’s happening. We beat them last year, and it’s happening again. We’re so freaking pumped. Last year was a battle with them, back and forth, but we came out on top.”

“It’s like a weight lifted off me,” said Luty. “Waiting for those overtimes is just killer, and once it’s over, we were just happy. Now, we’re going to kick some Tualatin (butt). Two years ago shouldn’t have happened. Now, we’re going to come back and show them who should’ve won it two years ago. We’re going to show we deserve this more than they do.

“It’s going to be a war,” continued Luty. “But, we’re going to come out on top. We’re going to prepare all week. We’re going to work on our plays, work on how we play, and just come out with fire.”

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