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Lady Bowmen grab the gold

Undefeated Sherwood prevails over Wilsonville in a penalty-kick shootout to claim the Class 5A state title
by: DAN BROOD WE DID IT — The Lady Bowmen rush goalie Mikaela Doherty following the penalty-kick shootout on Saturday.

HILLSBORO - It started with optimism.

It turned into frustration.

From there, it went to nail-biting nervousness.

And it ended with outright jubilation.

What all that means is that it was a heck of a day for the Sherwood High School girls soccer team.

The Lady Bowmen, overcoming all of the emotion, and a persistent foe in rival Wilsonville, claimed the Class 5A state championship by downing the Wildcats 1-0 in the state title match - which was decided by a penalty-kick shootout - held Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium.

'This is so great,' Sherwood junior midfielder Meghan Schoen said during the Lady Bowmen's victory celebration. 'This is the most amazing feeling in the world.'

'Oh my gosh. This means the world to us,' Sherwood senior midfielder Teegan Koster said. 'This is my last game here, and this feels amazing.'

'This absolutely means everything to us,' Lady Bowmen senior defender Amanda Shelton said. 'Especially since I was here as a sophomore when we took second (losing 1-0 to Bend in a match decided by a penalty-kick shootout). This means we accomplished everything we wanted to.'

Wilsonville, the No. 2 out of the Northwest Oregon Conference, finished its season with a final overall record. Sherwood, the No. 1 team from the NWOC, finished its season at 19-0 while also picking up its second state crown, and its first state title since beating Bend 1-0 back in 2007.

'These girls deserved to win,' Sherwood coach Bill Brown said. 'I can't tell you how proud I am of them. It's emotional. This is just a wonderful group of kids.'

Sherwood, with its perfect record, felt good heading into the championship game. The Lady Bowmen also knew they were on the verge of reaching their season-long goal.

'We worked for this all year,' Sherwood junior defender Taylor Gersch said. 'This was our goal since the beginning of the season, and we did it.'

The Lady Bowmen, anxious to achieve their season-long objective, seemed to take control early on in Saturday's championship match.

Junior midfielder Mikayla Howes and Schoen each had shots on goal in the first 10 minutes of the first half. With 27 minutes and 54 seconds left in the half, Sherwood freshman forward Ashley Fenske had a shot from eight yards out, off a pass from Schoen, sail just over the crossbar of the Wilsonville goal.

Sherwood kept the pressure on, getting shots on goal freshman forward Sarah Garoutte and Howes in the next 10 minutes.

Then, with 14:22 left in the first half, Schoen had a sliding kick from five yards out, on the right side, bounce off the right post of the Wildcat goal.

Sherwood junior midfielder Michaela Pilkenton and Howes each had shots at the Wilsonville goal in the final nine minutes of the first half.

Meanwhile, the Lady Bowmen defense, featuring Gersch, Shelton and junior Tear'sa Krieger, among others, limited Wilsonville to just two shots in the entire first half - still Sherwood found itself locked up in a scoreless tie at the intermission.

It was more of the same in the next 40 minutes.

Howes had a pair of free-kick attempts in the first eight minutes of the second half, with both kicks sailing just over the crossbar.

Then, in a span of 1:49 near the midway point of the second half, Sherwood got shots on goal from Schoen, Garoutte, Fenske and Schoen again, only to have all of those attempts saved by Wilsonville sophomore goalie Bess Kitzmiller.

With 11:15 left to play in the second half, Garoutte had a hard shot from 20 yards out that Kitzmiller saved while leaping straight out to her right.

Sherwood senior midfielder Lauren Vasquez had the last shot of the first half, coming from 25 yards out with 7:51 left in the half, but that attempt was just off the mark.

All told, the Lady Bowmen had 11 shots in the second half, while Wilsonville had none. Yet the teams went to a 20-minute overtime session still in a scoreless tie.

'That was a little frustrating,' Koster said. 'But we kept on playing hard.'

Sherwood had the best scoring opportunity in extra play. With 5:17 left to play in the second of two 10-minute overtime sessions, Howes sent a free kick from 40 yards out toward the Wilsonville goal. Fenske, from eight yards out, got her head on the ball, but her shot bounced off the crossbar of the Wildcat goal. The ball came back to Schoen, but her close-range header follow-up attempt flew over the crossbar.

As the final seconds of overtime ticked away, Koster headed away a Wilsonville corner kick, sending the contest to a penalty-kick shootout.

'There was a lot of pressure, and we were nervous, but we all believed in each other,' Krieger said.

Belief.

It seemed to be a big thing for the Lady Bowmen in the shootout.

'I think we all believed in ourselves and each other,' Koster said.

That even was true for Shelton, who said she couldn't watch any of the shots in the shootout.

Howes, shooting first for Sherwood in the shootout, drilled her shot into the right side of the net to give the Lady Bowmen a 1-0 lead. Then, after a shot by Wilsonville freshman Kendall Tate sailed over the crossbar, Koster put her attempt into the right side of the goal to up the lead to 2-0.

'I missed against Mountain View (in a penalty-kick shootout in the quarterfinals), and it killed me,' Koster said. 'But I kept my head up. I was determined not to let it happen again.'

From there, the shootout went back and forth. Sherwood got successful attempts from Vasquez and junior Natalie Thomas. Wilsonville made three straight attempts to keep within one, at 4-3, going into the final round of the shootout.

A Lady Bowmen miss in the fifth round, gave the Wildcats hope, and they tied things up at 4-4 on a shot by junior Michelle Teramura that Sherwood junior keeper Mikaela Doherty was able to deflect, but the ball still found its way inside the post.

That sent the shootout to a sudden death sixth round. Garoutte made her shot to the left side, giving Sherwood a 5-4 lead.

The ensuing shot by Wilsonville freshman Riley Johnson hit the bottom of the crossbar, bounced off the turf and bounded away from the goal, igniting Sherwood's championship celebration.

'We all freaked out,' Schoen said. 'We were just ecstatic. This is so amazing. This year, we wanted this so badly and we all worked together to get it. We wanted to be 19-0 - we couldn't let this be our one loss.'

'I was just thinking 'we won state,'' Krieger said with a smile. 'It's a new experience for me.'

'I think our hearts came out of our chests,' Koster said. 'It meant the world to all of us.'

What made the Lady Bowmen victory more impressive is the fact that two of the team's top players, junior Jessica Imbrie and Annie Govig, missed the championship game due to a commitment to play in a high-level Olympic Development Program event that was going on in Florida. Another Sherwood standout, senior midfielder Alex Teesdale, played just sparingly in the championship match due to a knee injury she suffered in the semifinals.

'We were undermanned,' Brown said. 'But we weren't discouraged. People stepped up. Emily Harris, Natalie Thomas, Ashley Fenske, Lauren Vasquez and Michaela Pilkenton all stepped up and played great.

'I really like the quality of play we got from our two goalkeepers and their performance for us in the playoffs was huge,' Brown added, referring to junior Kyeli Hendryx and Doherty.

The championship match marked the final high school game for Sherwood seniors Koster, Teesdale, Vasquez and Shelton.

'The four seniors' leadership was instrumental in our success,' Brown said.

Other members of the Sherwood state championship team are junior Rojia Stocker and junior Carley Mills. Geraldine Rumpf and Denise Keesee are the team's assistant coaches.