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Tigard rolls in league opener

The Tiger girls strike quick, and often, in their 5-0 Pacific Conference win over McMinnville
by: Dan Brood, BATTLE FOR THE BALL — Tigard’s Brittany Spelman (4) and Andrea Fisher (15) battle McMinnville’s Gina Carelle for the ball. The Tigers won the Pacific Conference match 5-0.

TIGARD - The Tigard High School girls soccer team got off to what could easily be called a great start to Pacific Conference play.

That's all thanks, in part, to a great start against McMinnville.

The Tigers scored two goals in the first 10 minutes - both coming off of corner kicks - on their way to scoring a 5-0 win over McMinnville in a Pacific Conference opening match held last Thursday at Tigard High School.

'We're off to a good start,' said Tigard senior defender Kristen Kelly, who had a pair of goals and a pair off assists in the victory. 'It's good to come out on top in our first league game - it's a great way to start.'

With the victory, the Tigers not only got off to a 1-0 start in Pacific Conference play, but they also improved to 4-0-1 on the season to that point. McMinnville fell to 3-2 on the season at that point with the loss.

'I thought our girls played better tonight than they did in our last game (a 2-1 win over St. Mary's),' Tigard coach Chad Crosby said. 'I was happy to see that we were using our outside wings more tonight.'

In last Thursday's contest, Tigard grabbed a 1-0 lead just 4 minutes and 2 seconds into the match. Tiger sophomore Alex Hogan started the scoring play with a corner kick from the left side. Kelly got a head on the ball, sending it up and toward the right side of the field.

Tigard senior Courtney Schild, jumping high, hit a header of her own, sending her close-range shot into the back of the next for the first goal of the contest.

Soon after, Tigard freshman forward Mackenzie Bittinger took a pair of shots, each sailing just over the crossbar of the Grizzly goal.

But, with 30:05 left in the first half, the Tigers struck again. And, again, they got their goal off a corner kick.

This time, it was junior Brittany Spelman taking the corner kick from the right side. Kelly, battling her way past McMinnville defenders, was able to get her head on the ball, sending the ball across the line to give Tigard a 2-0 lead. It was Kelly's third goal coming off a corner kick already this season.

'I just like getting my head on it - by any means possible,' Kelly said with a laugh.

Tigard upped its lead to 3-0 with 6:54 left in the half on a goal by sophomore midfielder Nika Viamonte-Lyons. On the play, Tiger junior forward Amanda Howie passed the ball ahead to Viamonte-Lyons, who outsprinted McMinnville's Kristin Krieger to the ball and then sent her shot inside the right post of the McMinnville goal.

Meanwhile, the Tigard defense, featuring, among others, Kelly, Hogan, senior Megan Moore, sophomore Melissa Forst and junior goalkeeper Chelsea Gray, limited the Grizzlies to just one shot on goal in the first half.

Gray ended one McMinnville first-half scoring opportunity when she ran out to grab a corner kick by Grizzly senior Serra Dittel-Payne.

Tigard tacked on two more goals in the second half. With 12:29 left to play, Kelly tallied her second goal of the contest, coming on a turnaround shot on goal, from about 20 yards away, off an assist from Schild.

Moore, moving up from the defense, had Tigard's final goal. She scored on a volley shot, from 10 yards away, off a cross from Kelly, coming with 11:57 left to play.

'It was fun to move our center backs up front,' Crosby said.

Tigard had eight shots on goal in the contest, compared to just two for McMinnville.

The Tigers picked up another league win on Tuesday as they posted a 7-0 victory at Forest Grove. Howie scored three goals for the Tigers in the victory.

Tigard will be back in action tonight (Thursday) when it faces rival Tualatin in a key league match starting at 7 p.m. at Tualatin High School. Both squads bring overall records of 5-0-1 into tonight's match.

'It will be a fun one,' Kelly said. 'It's two good teams. We have to stay strong on defense. It's always fun when we play Tualatin.'

On Tuesday, Tigard will host Canby at 7 p.m.

*****

The Tualatin girls soccer team is also off to a 2-0 start in Pacific Conferece action.

The Timberwolves started league play last Thursday, rolling to an 8-2 win over Forest Grove.

Courtney Verloo, Rachelle Kliewer and Molly Winterrowd each had two goals in the win and freshman Jensen Skinner had a pair of assists.

On Tuesday, Tualatin posted a 6-1 win at Canby with Verloo and senior Niki Paulson each scoring a pair of goals.