With first place at stake, the rivals battle to a 1-1 tie for the second straight season

by: DAN BROOD - COLLISION COURSE -- Tigard sophomore Ellie Freeman (left) and Tualatin freshman Anna Verloo converge on the ball during Monday's match at Tigard High School. The teams played to a 1-1 tie. TIGARD — Two strong, talented teams.

Both taking aim at the same lofty aspirations.

In addition, each team also really wanted to come away with a win against its rival.

But, in the match-up of powerhouses, neither emerged as the victor.

The rival Tigard and Tualatin girls soccer teams, each wanting to claim sole possession of first place in the the Pacific Conference standings, battled to a 1-1 tie in an intense showdown played Monday at in front of a large crowd at Tigard High School.

“Not bad,” Tualatin senior midfielder Madison Campbell said after the match. “We played well, and they did too.”

“It was stressful,” Tualatin junior Aryana Harvey said. “But I enjoyed it a lot. I love playing Tigard.”

“It was definitely intense,” Tigard senior forward Kyla Smart said.

“It was crazy at times, but fun,” Tigard senior midfielder Megan Franz said.

by: DAN BROOD - BOOT IT -- Tualatin senior Madison Campbell is about to send the ball flying during Monday's match at Tigard.With the tie, both teams moved to 3-0-1 in Pacific Conference play (Tigard moved to 8-0-2 on the season while Tualatin is now 7-2-2), putting them in a tie for first place in the conference standings. Last year, when they also battled to a 1-1 tie, the rivals ended up as conference co-champions, each going 6-0-1 in league play.

For the seniors on both squads, Monday’s match marked the final game between the rivals — at least in regular-season play.

“It’s our last league game with Tigard,” Campbell said. “It’s surreal. It’s kind of sad, but these are always the most intense games. It’s a rivalry.”

Tualatin got off to a strong start in the contest, seeming controlling the action in the early going.

The Timberwolves, behind their strong play, took a 1-0 lead near the midway mark of the first half when freshman Jordan Anderson, after taking a pass from sophomore Corinne Togiai, scored on a shot from 18 yards away to give Tualatin the first advantage.

However, the Tiger seemed to come back strong in the later stages of the first half, which ended with the Timberwolves still holding a 1-0 lead.

The momentum that Tigard gained at the end of the first half seemed to carry over to the second half. And the Tigers turned that momentum into a tying goal.

by: DAN BROOD - TIGER CELEBRATION -- The Tigard High School girls soccer team celebrates following senior Emilee Cincotta's tying goal in the opening minutes of the second half of Monday's match with Tualatin.Just 45 seconds into the second half, Tigard senior Emilee Cincotta, after taking a pass from sophomore Ellie Freeman from the right side, hit a sliding, left-footed kick from 16 yards out, with the ball sailing into the left side of the Tualatin goal to tie the match at 1-1.

“That gave us a spark,” Franz said of the equalizer.

“We switched formations in the second half, it it worked well,” Smart said. “We got more confident, and we kept it up.”

Tualatin tried to answer right back after the Tigard tally, getting a hard-hit shot on goal from 17 yards out by Togiai less than a minute after the Tiger goal. But Tigard sophomore goalkeeper Larysa Cleaver made a diving deflection of the shot.

Tigard answered with shots by Freeman and Cincotta. Freeman’s attempt sailed over the crossbar of the Tualatin goal and Cincotta’s free-kick attempt, from 22 yards away, was saved by Tualatin sophomore goalkeeper Emily Leonard.

The Tigers then got another key play by Cleaver, who dove straight out to her right to block an open attempt by Tualatin junior Kyla Hackelman with 31:48 left to play.

Cleaver’s deflection of Hackelman’s shot led to a Timberwolf corner kick, and that’s where things got interesting.

Tualatin senior Jill Farley took the corner kick from the left side of the field and drilled the ball inside the right post of the Tigard goal for what looked to be a go-ahead score. However, the apparent goal was disallowed, as it was ruled that the ball went out of bounds before bending back in and going into the Tigard goal.

“We had a goal taken away from us, but what can you do?” Campbell said.

by: DAN BROOD - CLASH OF THE TITANS -- Tualatin junior Kyla Hackelman (left) and Tigard sophomore Natalie Bryant keep the pace quick during Monday's showdown.The Timberwolves seem to turn up the pressure in a big way in the final 10 minutes of the match, but the Tigard defense, including junior Sarah Schaffer, sophomore Rachel Josephson, junior Madison Bickel and sophomore Raney Roche, was up to the task.

Shots by Hackelman and Farley were off the mark. Then, with 2:56 remaining, an attempt by Togiai was deflected to a corner kick.

Just over a minute later, Anderson hit a header off a pass from sophomore Maura Dunigan, with the ball popping up high in the air, with Cleaver making a leaping grab.

Tigard sophomore defender Rachel Josesphson ended the final Tualatin threat, clearing the ball deep with less than a minute left to play, sealing the 1-1 tie.

“We were just thinking ‘don’t let them score,’” Smart said of the final minutes of play.

“We had to pressure the ball,” Franz said.

“We tried to push it in,” Harvey said. “But I think we forced it too much.”

While neither side seemed to be totally satisfied with the tie, both teams said they enjoyed the intense, hard-fought contest between the rivals.

“For sure, both teams really wanted it,” Harvey said. “Maybe we’ll play them again in the playoffs. I sure hope so.”

“It was a very good team effort,” Campbell said.

“This was so much fun,” Smart said. “It’s our last Tualatin match. We played well and they were great competition.”

“It was a good one to end on,” Franz said.

Tigard coach Paul Slover said the contest could benefit his club.

“Going forward, this could end up being a really good game for us,” he said. “Unfortunately, tonight I felt Tualatin was the better team. But our girls did well stepping up to the competition. I think we felt the pressure and the rivalry, but playing such a quality group should really help us.”

Both teams were scheduled to play on Wednesday. Tigard was slated to host third-place Hillsboro and Tualatin was scheduled to play McMinnville at home. Results of those matches weren’t available when The Times went to press.

Both local squads will be back in action on Tuesday. Tualatin will face Century in a game to be played at the 53rd Avenue Sports Fields in Hillsboro and Tigard will travel to Newberg for conference games starting at 7 p.m.

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