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Girls soccer: Scappoose, Cascade clash in final four

OSAA Semifinals: Hillsboro Stadium, 4 p.m.

There's a distinct history of girls soccer dynasties in Oregon, whether it's the 11-year reign by Catlin Gabel in the 1990s or three titles in four years from Gladstone.

On Tuesday, thanks to a 3-2 win on Saturday over Henley, Scappoose has a chance to make a mark of their own in the state semifinals at Hillsboro Stadium. They'll face Cascade at 4 p.m., a team who rolled over for a 7-1 loss to the Indians in the first round last season.

This year Cascade (14-2, 8-2 Oregon West) presents a far more dangerous challenge. The Cougars are enjoying one of the best years they've had in recent memory, and are making their first trip to the state semifinals in school history. They've been building to this point over the last four years, and boast seven experienced seniors on their varsity roster.

The Cougars have nine upperclassmen, many of which are clustered in the center of the field. They've run a 4-5-1, a formation which loads up the midfield and helps to control possession, at times this season and have seen a fair amount of success for having a single striker up front — 70 goals in 16 matches.

Four times this season, they've scored eight goals or more. In seven matches, they've scored at least six times and won the final four matches of the year before flattening Astoria 8-0 in the play-in round. They inched past La Grande — at La Grande, no less — 2-1 in reach the quarterfinal match with Banks, who the Cougars beat 2-1.

The only two losses this season for Cascade came to Oregon West foe Philomath, and both came in dominant fashion. The Warriors, who were forced to forfeit all four of their preseason matches due to the use of an ineligible player, probably would have been ranked first in the state if not for their roster mistakes. They were the only team to actually beat Molalla, putting up three goals on the best defense in Class 4A back on Sept. 18.

And so it makes sense that Philomath could easily manage 3-1 and 3-1 defeats of Cascade, who finishes the regular season ranked seventh in the state. Other than a 1-0 win over Seaside, those two were the only times Cascade was really threatened.

Cascade is captained by senior midfielder Mary Teubner and senior forward Kayla Loukojarvi, who had the lone score against Philomath this season. Head coach Bryndle Rueck is in his sixth season as head coach in Turner, Ore.

Final four outlook:

The earlier mention of Gladstone as a perennial power should make it no surprise that the Gladiators are once again in the semifinal round. Gladstone, ranked fifth at the end of the regular season, would likely have hosted a first-round match but was forced to make the 342-mile trip to Brookings-Harbor High School and walked away with a 1-0 'upset'.

Then, they drove 152 miles and upset — this time it's a legitimate upset — the top-ranked Sisters Outlaws in a 3-nil shutout to make the semifinals for the fifth time in six seasons.

The team the road-warriors will face is fresh off an eye-opening victory over the Warriors of Philomath. It is, perhaps, a mark of how good the Valley Catholic Valliants can be when they're clicking: Philomath hadn't lost a match all year before being embarrassed 8-0 at Valley Catholic on Nov. 8. It's either a statement victory for Valley Catholic or a wild disappointment for Philomath but either way, the Valiants' offense is on fire. Valley Catholic will host Gladstone in Beaverton on Nov. 11 at 6 p.m.