Gladstone coeds come up short at Scappoose

The 2013 season was both successful and disappointing for Gladstone High School’s two-time defending state champion girls soccer team, which had won state titles in three of the past four seasons.

Ranked sixth in the state, the Gladiators bowed out of this year’s Class 4A state playoffs on Saturday, with a tough, tough 2-1 loss in a state quarterfinal game with third-ranked Scappoose, played at Scappoose. It was the 12th straight win for the Indians (14-3-0), who were to meet Gladstone’s Tri-Valley League rival La Salle in the Nov. 12 semifinals.

The loss was especially tough, because the Gladiators had defeated Scappoose 2-0 in early September, and Saturday’s game was a contest that could have just as easily gone the other way.

“We hit the post three times and their goalie blocked a penalty kick,” said Gladstone coach Steve Thomas. “We get a goal out of one of those shots and the game at least goes into overtime.”

Scappoose did all of the damage in the early going, putting both of its goals in the net inside the first 16 minutes of play, scoring on a penalty kick after a foul in the box, and off a corner kick.

Gladstone pulled within 2-1 when Kendall Schumaker scored off a cross from Rielee Jaekel in the closing minutes of the first half, and both teams went scoreless in an intensely played second half.

Thomas had his Gladiators with 13 shots, to eight by the Indians. He had Gladstone keeper Molly Webster with three saves, and Scappoose’s keepers with eight. He said the Gladiators had six corner kicks, while the Indians were awarded four corners.

“We played a good game, we just couldn’t put it in the back of the net,” Thomas said.

With the loss, the Gladiators finished the year with an overall record of 12-2-2, scoring 54 goals, while allowing 16 opponents just seven goals.

“I’ve never been more proud of a team,” Thomas said. “Nobody expected us to do as well as we did, after losing four four-year seniors [to graduation]. We lost only two games all year, to Scappoose and La Salle. And those two teams are battling it out in the semifinals....

“We lost the ‘defensive player of the year,’ Madi Cronin [to graduation] and we were still the second-best defensive Class 4A girls soccer team in the state. The girls worked hard, and we had a great year!”

The Gladiators took care of business in a Nov. 5 first-round Class 4A playoff game with North Valley, recording their eleventh shutout of the season with a 2-0 win.

The Gladiators totally dominated the play, outshooting the Knights 22-2 for the game, with no fewer than 13 shots on-frame.

“They only had one shot on-goal in the entire game,” said Thomas. “We passed the ball really well, controlled the midfield and shut down their star player.”

Still, the game was a scoreless tie at the intermission.

“We changed formations and were attacking more [the second half],” Thomas observed.

Riley Webster put the Gladiators on board 19 minutes into the second half, cracking the ball home from 20 yards out. The assist came from Kelsey Hathaway, who corralled a free kick from Kendall Schumaker, and one-touched the ball behind the defense.

“The goalie was standing on the line,” said Thomas. “She reached high, but it went off her hands and bounced in.”

Just five minutes later, Hannah Kent stole the ball and sent it ahead to Megan White, who passed it across the field to Hathaway. Hathaway beat the defense and fired a rocket inside the far post from the top of the 18. And the Gladiators had their 2-0 margin of victory.

“The score could have just as easily been 5-0,” said Thomas. “Their goalie made three stupendous saves in the second half.”

Thomas said that the defensive play of Mikaela Simac, Julia Schumaker, Talia Pena and Jessica Petersen on North Valley star forward Venessa D’Arpino was pivotal in the Gladiator victory.

“She had five or six hat tricks this season, and we held her to just one shot,” said Thomas. “We took her out of the game. She’s the defending state sprint champion and she broke through a couple of times, but Mikaela stuffed her....

“They can be a very dangerous team. They had scored 10 goals in [a Nov. 2 state play-in game with] Ontario.”

Last week’s 2-0 win over North Valley was only the third time in 16 games this fall that the Knights (20-5-1) had been shut out. The Knights entered the Gladstone game averaging three goals an outing.

The Gladiators should be tough again next year, with the return of seven players who started in last Saturday’s final with Scappoose — juniors Talia Pena (defense), Mikaela Simac (defense), Hannah Kent (forward), Riley Webster (midfield) and Molly Webster (goalkeeper); sophomore Jessica Petersen (defense); and freshman Rielee Jaekel (midfield).

Sophomore Madi Stirling, who split time with Webster in-goal, will also return.

Seniors lost to graduation include: Kendall Schumaker (midfield), Julia Schumaker (defense), Kelsey Hathaway (midfield), Megan White (forward), Cheyenne Stubblefield (forward) and Rosa Magana (midfield).

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