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PREP SOCCER: Aardvarks knew girls final would be intense

by: COURTESY OF JOHN HOLLORAN - Oregon Episcopal School's girls soccer team placed second Saturday in the Class 3A/2A/1A playoffs, falling 1-0 to Valley Catholic in the final at Liberty High.That's soccer.

One play here or there -- and often one shot -- makes the difference.

That was the case Saturday at Liberty High, where the Oregon Episcopal School girls lost 1-0 to Valley Catholic for the Class 3A/2A/1A championship.

Valley Catholic scored in the 51st minute on a shot to the lower left corner of the goal by Reilly Blood, a sophomore forward.

The shot came seconds after OES keeper Rachel Haugh had made a diving save against VC's Sarah Connelly, who was fed from the left wing by Ella Turkot at the end of her sprint past a couple of defenders.

It was the third meeting this season between the league rivals -- OES won 1-0 at home on Oct. 1 and 2-0 at Valley Catholic on Oct. 22.

In the state final, the Valiants led in shots 10-7 and corner kicks 3-1.

"Valley played a great game, and it was a back-and-forth battle," OES coach Scot Thompson says. "I was very happy with our start, and we created chances throughout the match."

On the scoring play, VC was able to keep the ball in a dangerous area in front of the goal with a couple of touches, including Turkot's tap backward to a waiting Blood for the shot that just slipped into the post to the goalie's right.

"Rachel made a great save on their first shot, but unfortunately tTurkot was in the right place and finished the play off," Thompson says.

Oregon Episcopal had won the title in 2011 and 2012, defeating Valley Catholic 2-1 a year ago in the championship round.

On Saturday, the Valiants started eight players who had started in that match, and OES had six returning starters.

"We knew Valley had a huge desire to win," Thompson says, "and they showed it with their determination in the second half."

The teams went into the postseason in the top two spots of the Oregon School Activities Association rankings. OES was No. 1, Valley Catholic No. 2.

The Aardvarks finished with a 14-2-2 record. VC was 12-3-1.

"The loss was a good reminder for us," Thompson says, "and we'll fight even harder to make it next year."