The Hawks, coming off a WVL playoff win over Riverside, plays at Catlin Gabel Saturday
by: Tom Bachhuber STEPPING UP — Horizon Christian senior Lizzy Ng (left), shown here in a match earlier in the season, had a goal and two assists in a league playoff win over Riverside.

TUALATIN - The Horizon Christian High School girls soccer team has put in a lot of hard work all season long.

Last week, the Hawks turned all of that hard work into a Class 3A/2A/1A state playoff berth after scor-ing a 6-1 win over Riverside in a District 1 playoff game held last Thursday at Horizon Christian High School.

'The Riverside game was an incredible conclusion to a perfect league season. I was so proud of the girls for how far they have come since the start of the season,' Horizon Christian coach Cory Hand said. 'At the start, the girls were asked to set team goals for the season. Their goals this season could be wrapped up in an acronym F.U.S.E. - Family, Unity, Service, and Equality. Their desire for the season was to create an environment with each that transcended a team, they wanted to have relationships with each other that where their was depth, vulnerability, sincerity, and compassion like you'd find in a family. They wanted to be united through Christ's love. They wanted to serve their teammates, their school, their community, their country, and people outside of the country. The girls wanted to be able to view each other, their teammates, and their peers as equals - no greater, no less. The girls never once set a goal of being top in the league or going to state. Their goals were much more significant than either of those. They believe if they achieved F.U.S.E. that the winning of games, league titles, and state playoffs would all be a byproduct of their ac-tions.'

With the victory, the Hawks improved to 7-7-3 on the season and earned a spot in the quarterfinal round of the Class 3A/2A/1A state playoffs. Horizon Christian will meet Catlin Gabel Saturday in a quarterfinal match starting at 4:15 p.m. at Catlin Gabel.

The Eagles, who hold the top spot in the OSAA RPI rankings, are 13-1-2 on the season.

'We will go into this game the underdog,' Hand said. 'Catlin has proven each year to be an extremely difficult opponent and rightfully belongs in the first-place spot. I also think that coming in as the underdogs can be a powerful thing for us. It is very easy for teams to overlook their opponents based upon their record or standing. I'm hoping to use this to our advantage in this Saturday's game. I know that these girls are excited, ready, and as prepared as they'll ever be for this game. No matter the outcome, which we still are hoping is in our favor, the girls aim to use this game to bring God glory in the way that they play.'

In last Thursday's league playoff tilt, Horizon Christian took on a Riverside team it had tied in each of the teams' regular-season meetings.

'Going into the game against Riverside, my challenge to the girls was to be consistent in their play from day to day,' Hand said. 'Meaning, I wanted to see them come out against Riverside and maintain the same level of play they held against Umatilla (a 5-0 league playoff win) a couple days before.'

Horizon Christian started strong, getting three shots on goal in the first five minutes of the contest. The Hawks then took a 1-0 lead at the 10-minute mark when junior Junoet Perkins scored off an assist from senior Lizzy Ng.

Horizon Christian carried its 1-0 lead to halftime.

The Hawks then stepped up their play in the second half. Within three minutes following the halftime break, Perkins notched her second goal to make the score 2-0. Just 10 minutes later, Ng scored on a shot from the top of the penalty box to up the margin to 3-0.

Horizon Christian kept the pressure on from there. A Riverside player stopped a shot on goal by Ng with a hand ball, resulting in a penalty kick.

Freshman Haley Rott converted on the opportunity, scoring on the ensuing penalty kick making the score 4-0. It was Rott's first goal of the season.

She didn't have to wait long to get her second goal as, five minutes later, she scored on a shot from 25 yards out to up the lead to 5-0.

With eight minutes left to play, senior Jessica Thoens scored off a cross from Ng to make it 6-0. A late Riverside goal made the final score 6-1.

'We were familiar with their style of play and with what to expect,' Hand said. 'Our girls knew how to prepare for this team. In regards to it being the last game holding us back from the Quarter Finals in state, that had hardly any effect on the girls. They came out to the game just like any other. They were focused, united, and knew that the moment they stepped onto the field for warm-ups that they had to bring every-thing they had.

'It is beyond special for these girls to make it to the state playoffs. They feel like they have earned the opportunity to live out F.U.S.E. together as a team for at least another week. This alone means more to the girls than the state playoff game. Games come and go, what they're living out and expressing daily is what has become more important.'

The winner of Saturday's state playoff match at Catlin Gabel will meet either Glide or Western Mennonite in a state semifinal match on Tuesday.

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