The Lincoln Cardinals' run through the state Class 4A girls soccer tournament ended in disappointment, at least on the scoreboard, Saturday at Tigard High.
Lincoln played Sheldon of Eugene to a 0-0 stalemate at halftime, but the Irish pounded home three goals in the second half and won 3-0 in the state final.
Lincoln, co-champion of the PIL with Grant, placed second, its highest finish ever, and that -wasn't lost on the Cardinals' four seniors.
'Losing isn't much fun, but second place is a pretty good finish for as young a team as we had,' senior Ali Draudt said. 'We thought this was going to be kind of a rebuilding year, but we just kept on winning.'
Senior Katie Bradley said the Cardinals are poised for great things with so many returning players, including 11 who are just sophomores this year.
'With another season under them, who knows how good they'll be next year,' Bradley said. 'Maybe they'll get back to the final. And I'll be here to watch them.'
With the soccer season over, Lincoln's top sophomore, Lauren Greif, moved on to join the Cardinals' basketball team. Greif, who was an all-city player as a freshman, began practices Monday.
Central Catholic looks like a title contender in the Mount Hood Conference thanks to 6-5 swingman Corey Allen, but the Rams didn't get invited to the Les Schwab Invitational because Allen is only a junior, as are numerous other players on the boys team.
Are the Rams a team that's a year away from being a state title contender? Their seniors, including 6-6 center Matt Rice and Kyle Moore, who quarterbacked the football team, hope not.
'We're still inexperienced overall,' coach Steve Halligan said. 'But we're learning quickly. And we like to think that we're never a year away. This is always the year.'
Central reached the second round of the state playoffs last year. The state playoffs have changed for this season, though, as even district champions will need to win at least two games to reach the state tournament in Eugene.
Central's season opener is set for Dec. 5 at Jesuit.
Most teams begin play in the first week of December. Lincoln, the PIL defending champion, opens up at home Dec. 5, against Lake Oswego.
Jefferson girls standout Brittney Davis, who recently signed a letter of intent with the University of Michigan, begins her season at home Dec. 2 against St. Mary's.
Teams from around the state begin their seasons in the first week of December, with Cleveland traveling to Grant for a dual meet Dec. 2 as the first PIL action. Cleveland is the lone PIL team set to compete in the Oregon Classic, Jan. 9-10, in Redmond.
Madison may have the district's top individual in Andy Jackson, who finished fourth in the national Greco-Roman wrestling meet at 145 pounds this summer.
Roosevelt baseball coach Jack Russell reports that the East Portland American Legion baseball program that reached the state tournament in the summer may add schools Ñ including another team at the top level of Legion play, Triple A. Grant, Roosevelt and Benson had players on the team last summer, and Marshall may join in, too. 'We're looking at trying to become what the Pepsi Challengers are to Eugene,' he says. 'And we're looking for a sponsor.'