Class 6A girls soccer — The Tigers strong season ends in disappointing fashion with loss

Newberg’s solid regular-season resume paid dividends in the form of an easy matchup versus North Salem in a 6A state play-in game last week, but that did not carry over into the first round of the state playoffs.

The Tigers late-season slide saw them slip to fourth-place in the competitive Pacific Conference, but still finished the campaign ranked No. 15, earning them the right to host a first-round game after crushing the Vikings 10-0 on Oct. SETH GORDON - Megan Myers is upended charging the goal in the Tigers' 5-1 loss to North Santiam Oct. 29.

Newberg, however, received a tough draw in a Clackamas team that is not only one season removed from a state title game appearance, but went unbeaten in the Three Rivers League only to be ranked No. 18 thanks, in part, to suffering three 1-0 losses to start the season.

The Cavaliers showed their quality Saturday, rolling to a 5-0 win to end the Tigers’ season Saturday at Loren Douglas Field. It was the fourth time in the past six seasons that Newberg has qualified for the playoffs only to be knocked out in the first round.

“It’s disappointing, but I’m proud of my girls and how hard they played all season long,” head coach Jon Halstead said. “They set some goals for the season and I think we accomplished them. We finished with a strong record. We just have to get past this first round hump.”

The Cavaliers (9-4-3) controlled possession for most of the game and were able to break down the Tigers’ defense both by pushing the ball up the wings and with through balls to forwards up the middle.

The former situation led to both of Clackamas’ two first half goals, which saw mostly unmarked players head home crosses sent to the back post.

Newberg (8-6-1) turned away many attacks, but over the course of the game, the Cavaliers wore down the midfield and defense with consistent ball pressure, forcing the Tigers to settle for short-lived clearances.

Halstead’s team, which got two goals apiece from Megan Myers, Sam Russo and Dallin Esmond in the blowout victory over North Salem, was able to create several scoring chances in the first half, but could not convert them. Also scoring against the Vikings were Natalie Peterson, Tiana Gilyard, Abigail Reohr and Hannah Green.

“We didn’t pressure well enough,” Halstead said. “They had possession and in a situation like that, we have to close them down. When we got the ball, we moved the ball around for those brief spells. We got opportunities and chances and we have to take those.”

Clackamas made it 3-0 just over 16 minutes into the second half, then padded its’ lead with a pair of goals in the final 10 minutes.

It was a frustrating and deflating way for the team’s seniors — Russo, Green, Marta Burchett, Katie Reohr, Kassie Grove and Brooke Garland — to finish careers in which they helped build Newberg into a more consistent program that only promises to improve as it continues to bring in talented young players each fall.

“Those girls gave it their all for four years,” Halstead said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them. They’re great kids and they deserved a better finish than that. I asked a lot from them for four years and they left it out there.”

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