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Lady Bowmen have reason to celebrate

Soccer: Sherwood battles its way to a 2-0 win over Sandy to move to 12-0 on the season
by: DAN BROOD GOOD GOAL — Sherwood junior Jessica Imbrie (11) is congratulated by her teammates after she scored in the 2-0 win over Sandy.

SHERWOOD - For Teegan Koster, it was a nice way to commemorate her 18th birthday.

For the Sherwood High School girls soccer team, it was another nice victory.

Put it all together, and you have quite a celebration.

Koster, scoring the first goal of the contest, helped the undefeated Lady Bowmen score a hard-fought 2-0 win over Sandy in a Northwest Oregon Conference match played Tuesday at Sherwood High School.

'Oh my gosh. It was incredible,' Koster said of scoring a goal on her birthday. 'It was really great.'

With the loss, Sandy moved to 2-3 in league matches and to 7-4 on the season. Sherwood improved to 5-0 in NWOC play (12-0 overall), keeping the Lady Bowmen all alone atop the standings.

'That was a real good win,' Sherwood coach Bill Brown said. 'They came to play and they're pretty darn good. They put the pressure on us, and we needed something like that.'

Still, despite a valiant effort by the Pioneers, they weren't able to hand Sherwood its first loss of the season.

And, so far, it's been a pretty special season for the Lady Bowmen.

It's been a season that has seen the Sherwood squad close in on the NWOC championship and also stay unbeaten while holding down the No. 1 spot in the OSAA Class 5A RPI rankings.

'It's like a rehash of my sophomore year,' Koster said, referring to the 2009 season, where the Lady Bowmen won their first 18 matches of the season and reached the Class 5A state championship match. 'We want that perfect season. This is so incredible. It's a flashback.'

'Our dream is to win state,' added Sherwood junior forward Jessica Imbrie, who scored the other goal in the Lady Bowmen's victory on Tuesday. 'It's good to see us get rewarded for all of the hard work we've put in.'

'That's the word of the day - reward,' Koster said. 'We want to reward ourselves.'

Sherwood had to work hard on Tuesday night to find its rewards against the scrappy Pioneer squad.

'They were good competition for us,' Imbrie said.

'It was good to get challenged,' Koster added. 'It was good to have to be on our toes.'

The Lady Bowmen put the pressure on early.

With 31 minutes and 30 seconds left in the first half, Sherwood sophomore midfielder Emily Harris hit a volley shot from eight yards away off a corner kick by junior Mikayla Howes, but the ball sailed over the crossbar.

A minute later, Howes fired a shot from 25 yards out, but Sandy junior goalkeeper Victoria Fulton, leaping to her right, knocked the shot away.

Then, with 18:58 left to play in the half, the Lady Bowmen were turned back again, as a volley shot by freshman Sarah Garoutte sailed just wide right.

But Sherwood, and the birthday girl, wouldn't be denied.

After taking a pass from junior Meghan Schoen, Koster blasted a shot from 18 yards away, with the ball sailing into the right side of the goal to give the Bowmen a 1-0 lead with 17:24 left in the first half.

'That felt really good,' Koster said with a smile.

Sherwood kept firing away after that, getting shots by junior Annie Govig and senior Amanda Shelton, but the Lady Bowmen couldn't add to their first-half lead.

The, with 2:24 remaining before halftime, Sherwood junior Michaela Pilkenton hit a shot from 15 yards out that looked to be a sure goal. But Fulton had other ideas. The Pioneer goalie, diving straight out to her left, deflected that ball and knocked it off the right post of the goal, keeping the score at 1-0.

Sandy then came out strong to start the second half. The Pioneers, keeping the Lady Bowmen on their heels, got shots on goal from sophomore Shannon Trantham and sophomore Zoe Higgins, but Sherwood junior goalie Kyeli Hendryx made the save on each of those attempts.

Then, during the final 15 minutes of the match, the Lady Bowmen seemed to find their rhythm again.

Garoutte had a shot from eight yards out, off a pass from Imbrie, blocked to a corner kick by Fulton with 13:15 left in the match. Harris then hit a hard, close-range header attempt off the ensuing corner kick, but Fulton grabbed the shot at the goal line.

With 8:50 left to play, an apparent goal by Schoen was nullified by an offside call.

But, with just 5:04 remaining, the Lady Bowmen were able to strike again. Schoen, with the ball in the left corner, hit a pass to the middle, right to a cutting Imbrie, who then smacked a hard shot into the right side of the Pioneer goal to up the Sherwood lead to 2-0.

'I love working with Meghan and Annie,' Imbrie said. 'When we play like that, no one can stop us.'

'It was great to watch that goal,' Koster added.

The Bowmen then kept the pressure on in the final minutes as they closed out the 2-0 win.

'One of the things we do is put offensive pressure on people,' Brown said. 'We could have had two or three more goals. I thought Emily Harris did a real nice job tonight. She brought a lot of energy.

'This is a good group of kids, and it's a fun group. And every kid is a player. They all contribute on the field or in practice. We just need to stay healthy and keep playing at a high level.'

The win was the fourth straight shutout for Sherwood, and its eighth on the season.

'Our defense is improving dramatically,' Brown said.

Prior to the win over Sandy, Sherwood posted an 8-0 win over St. Helens in a league match played last Thursday at St. Helens High School.

Garoutte had two goals in that win while Koster, Schoen, senior Alex Teesdale, Imbrie and junior Tear'sa Krieger each had one.