Oregon Episcopal moves step closer to third consecutive 3A girls title with 3-0 win over Corbett

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Oregon Episcopal's Mickaelah McKinney-Griggs settles a ball in front of Corbett's Simone Ballard during Saturday's playoff win. She scored twice and assisted on the Aardvarks' other goal. Corbett looked to put a dead end in Oregon Episcopal’s quest for a third straight Class 3A girls soccer crown Saturday, but the No. 1-ranked Aardvarks would not be denied.

It took OES less than two minutes to find its way onto the scoreboard on its way to a 3-0 win in the state quarterfinals.

The early strike came after the Aardvarks won a ball in the middle of the field and played it up to Michaelah McKinney-Griggs, who found space against a defender and sent a laser into the net from 15 yards.

“Scoring early helps us in every match, as it forces teams to step up,” Aardvarks coach Scot Thompson said. “Our team plays best when we are pressed and can find passing lanes to our midfielders and forwards.”

Corbett tried to answer by playing the ball in the OES side for the next five minutes, but the team struggled to make any runs inside the 18-yard box.

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Oregon Episcopal midfielder Carolyn Ruoff settles a ball out of the air during the first half Saturday.

The Cardinals' only real threat came when Elisabeth Krieger won a ball in the center circle and scooted a quick bouncer down the center. Teammate Kelsie Duncan split a pair of defenders to give chase, but the ball had too much speed, allowing OES goalie Rachel Haugh to come of the line and secure it.

The Aardvarks sent the action back into Corbett’s end for the final 30 minutes of the half, coming close to an insurance goal when Carolyn Ruoff blasted a shot from 25 yards. Corbett goalie Kendall Sheerman held her ground and raised both hands to make the block, but the rebound spun dangerously at the side of the net. Cardinals defender Finnian Moon was first on the scene to send the ball back into the midfield.

OES eventually did find the insurance goal, putting the match away before halftime when McKinney-Griggs sent a pass to Emi Ogden-Fung, who connected on a one-timer into the right side of the net.

McKinney-Griggs scored the team’s final goal off an assist from Ruoff. The Aardvarks advance to Tuesday’s semifinals, where they will play host to No. 4 St. Mary’sof Medford.

View a photo gallery of Saturday's match at ...

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