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Late lesson could help Tigers

Tigard, which opens the playoffs Saturday, plays to a tie with Hillsboro
by: DAN BROOD PLAYING HARD — Tigard senior Karyl Kanada (right) battles a Hillsboro player for the ball in last week’s match. The teams played to a 1-1 tie.

TIGARD - It may not have been the exact outcome the Tigard High School girls soccer team wanted in its final regular-season match of the season.

But, the Tigers just may have learned a lesson that could pay off for them in the playoffs.

Tigard finished its regular season schedule by battling Hillsboro to a 1-1 tie in a Pacific Conference match played Oct. 26 at Tigard High School.

'Oh man, we didn't bring it quite as hard as we should have tonight,' said Tigard senior Karyl Kanada, who scored the Tigers' only goal in the match. 'I think we kind of expected to win and underestimated them. I think we learned a lot from this.'

With the tie, Hillsboro moved to 3-7-4 in league play. Tigard finished the regular season in third place in the final Pacific Conference standings at 7-3-4. As the No. 3 team in the league, Tigard earned an automatic berth into the Class 6A state playoffs.

The Tigers will open postseason play Saturday when they travel to Clackamas for a first-round match starting at 5 p.m.

'We're looking forward to the playoffs,' Kanada said. 'We want to do well. We had a lot of injured players out tonight. We will need to pick up the pace and we can't let down after we score a goal.'

That was another lesson Tigard learned in last week's match with Hillsboro.

In last week's match, the two teams battled to a scoreless tie through one half of play.

Tigard had four shots on goal in the first 40 minutes, including a high, hard shot from 27 yards away by sophomore Kyla Smart coming with 19 minutes and 37 seconds left in the first half. But Hillsboro junior goalkeeper Kelsey Blem made a leaping block on the attempt.

Tigard senior Jessica Lemieux had two shots on goal in the first half and senior Briana Piedra added a line-drive attempt from 18 yards out that was grabbed by Blem with 13:28 left in the first half.

Meanwhile, the Tigard defense, including freshman Sarah Schaffer, sophomore Erin Graham and senior Hayley Bemis, among others, limited Hillsboro to just two shots on goal in the first half, with both of those shots being saved by Tigard freshman goalie Zoey Dahme.

Tigard tried to keep the pressure on after the intermission, getting shots on goal by both senior Corrie Racanelli and freshman Rachael Simmons in the first 15 minutes of the second half.

Then, with 22:54 left to play in the match, Tigard was able to break through.

Kanada, after taking a pinpoint cross from Simmons, who was on the right side, blasted a shot from 14 yards away that found its way into the left side of the Spartan goal, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead with 22:54 remaining to play.

'It was a perfect cross from Rachael and I just followed it in,' Kanada said.

But Tigard's lead was short-lived. Just 1:05 later, Hillsboro sophomore Haley Cowman took a pass from senior Katya Jay and scored on a shot from 16 yards out to tie the match at 1-1.

Tigard had a pair of shots by senior Jordan Janac and one by Kanada in the final minutes, but those attempts were either saved by Blem or just off the mark, leaving the teams with a 1-1 tie.

'I think we definitely learned from this,' Kanada said. 'We don't want to let down after we get ahead.'

The winner of Saturday's playoff match at Clackamas will advance to play in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs, which are set for Tuesday.