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Girls soccer: Cascade foils Indians' trip to state finals

Cascade scores two second-half goals to upset Scappoose 2-1 and force the defending champions out in the semifinal round


Photo Credit: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Scappoose junior Lauren Frank looks to outrun Cascade senior captain Mary Teubner in the waning moments of the semifinal match. Cascade scored with 14 seconds remaining to snatch the finals berth away from the Indians.Scappoose came just seconds away from an extra 20 minutes of play and another handful of chances to break the stalemate and advance to the title match, but Cascade had the final say at Hillsboro Stadium on Tuesday evening. Cougar forward Sarah Teubner knocked in a goal with 14 seconds remaining in the match, icing the Indians' already frigid title hopes amidst a mid-November gale.

The result came in spite of shot after shot going just wide of the posts for Scappoose: several for Lucy Davidson, one for Natalie Muth, one for Karly Regan and one for Amanda Orr. And that's not to mention the countless near misses Scappoose endured throughout the match on balls served into the penalty area, only to be knocked away at the last second.

“Just plain and simple. That's soccer,” second-year head coach Nicholas Heffernan said afterward. “I mean, Regan nearly put it in. Muth had a chance, Lucy had a few chances. They were saying at halftime, the crosses that we had were inches away.”

Heffernan let a half-hearted smile break through his wind-worn face and cold-reddened eyes.

“It's just one of those things in soccer, that's why it's such a good game.”

The howling wind and dropping temperatures started early, with gusts blowing up to 20 miles per hour on the field and bending the corner flags nearly to the turf. Scappoose struggled to keep the ball in play on the sidelines, and saw several chances roll across the end line with the blistering breeze pushing them along.

Finally, in the 20th minute of play, Scappoose broke through. Natalie Muth, after starting the match in the back line, moved upward and carried the ball into the attacking third. Muth fired from the edge of the 18 yard box, her shot rebounding to the other side of the field and the feet of junior midfielder Madison Verzino. As fellow junior Eleanor Jones desperately tried to fall backward and out of the way, Verzino took the perfect touch and slotted the ball past Cascades keeper and into the side netting at the far post.

Moments later, Scappoose had a chance to take a two-goal lead when Muth and Davidson charged Cascade's goalkeeper at the edge of the six-yard box and played a game of chicken. The ball bounced within easy reach of Muth, but was snatched away at the last moment.

The Indians got out of the half still clutching their 1-nil lead after the first 40 frozen minutes and took refuge in the stadium's locker rooms for a precious 10 minutes to discuss exactly how close they'd come to adding a score to their edge.

Heffernan said he thought one more goal might have done it — and it would have sent the two teams to overtime, then to penalties as temperatures dipped toward freezing. But with the wind at their backs in the second half, Cascade finally had an advantage. Somehow, Scappoose never adjusted to the wind when the ball was in the air, allowing it to skip over their heads and into the proverbial arms of the opposition for dangerous opportunities.

“We didn't really learn from the first couple of minutes where the wind's a factor and we're still pretending it's not there, so we're still going towards the ball not knowing that, 'okay, it's going to go over my head,'” Heffernan said. “Both their goals came from that.”

The tying tally came almost dead center in the second half. Moments earlier Regan had missed scoring by mere inches after an excellent run from Verzino opened up a chance in front of the Cascade goal. The Cougars countered, pushing deep into Indian territory and banking on their strong senior striker Kayla Loukojarvi to pull them even. In the 60th minute she did just that, using just enough space and just enough power to beat Scappoose keeper Jessica Dykes to the far corner.

With time winding down and neither team finding the back of the net, Heffernan was sure the match was headed to a pair of extra periods. Even though the Indians got a great run from Davidson and a quality shot from distance by Muth, it seemed the doors were shut for Scappoose.

But for Cascade, who had never even been to the semifinals in program history, the door was open just a crack and there was still a score left to be found. Teubner's goal in the waning seconds of the match proved to be the game winner, sending Scappoose home at the semifinal stage.

The loss cut short the senior years of Emily Muth, Kim Carpenter and Haley Heuer and banded the Tribe girls together as the tear-stricken group slowly made its way through the tempest and into the changing rooms underneath the thousands of empty seats at Hillsboro Stadium. In several of the matches leading up to the semifinals — and Heffernan would attest to the symtom showing up throughout the season — the Indians struggled to 'click' until something happened on the field to wake them up. Sometimes it was a goal, sometimes it was a tackle. Whatever the trigger, Scappoose nearly always managed to pick things up and routinely blow out their opponent. This time, what with the plummeting temperatures and icy wind, it never really happened.

“I think it was too hard to click, to be honest, with the conditions. You know what we're like on the floor … one, two, three touches in the middle, but we just kind of weren't ourselves,” Heffernan said.

Now, the battle begins afresh for the returning players. Natalie Muth and Davidson have already captured the eyes of the state as a whole judging by the level of attention they get from opposing defenses, but Scappoose will return five all-league players as well as a host of young names who have seen extensive time this season. It's been a regular practice for Heffernan to get the freshman and sophomores on to the pitch, and the Indians have seen contributions from each and every single spot on the roster. The weight of falling in such a heartbreaking fashion, Heffernan said, will stick with the team and should be of help next year.

“It will fuel them. Last year it fueled us to try and win it again, but this feeling now will be even bigger for them,” he said.

“It should always be the same amount of motivation whether you lose or win. It doesn't really matter. That's how I always play,” Heffernan said, calling the loss “a learning experience for them. It'll make them stronger.”

“Is what it is,” he said. “They'll come back flying next year.”

SUMMARY

OSAA Semifinal

Hillsboro Stadium, Hillsboro

No. 7 Cascade 2, No. 3 Scappoose 1

CASC 0 2 — 2

SCAP 1 0 1

Goals:

SCAP — Madison Verzino, 20'

CASC Kayla Loukojarvi, 60'

CASC — Sarah Teubner, 80'

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