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Tualatin tunes up for showdown


The Wolves, after beating Tigard, host Newberg Monday

by: DAN BROOD - TAKING AIM -- Tualatin's Marisa Lovos (left) look to take a shot while Tigard's Avery Branen closes in during Monday's water polo match. TUALATIN — Don’t get the Timberwolves wrong.

They were excited to play Tigard and happy to get a win over the rival Tigers.

But the Tualatin High School girls water polo team’s main focus is on someone else — Newberg.

The Timberwolves, getting ready for their upcoming showdown with Newberg, scored an 18-3 win over Tigard in a Pacific Conference game played Monday at the Tualatin Swim Center.

“This was my last game against Tigard,” Tualatin senior Sarah Visse said after the contest. “So this was bittersweet. It’s always fun to play them — we’ve been playing them since fifth grade. And we treat every game seriously, but, every game we’ve been focusing on the more challenging game, and Newberg is our biggest competition.”

The Wolves will get their chance to face Newberg Monday when the teams meet in a Pacific Conference showdown set to start at 6 p.m. at the Tualatin Swim Center.

“I’m excited for it,” Visse said. “It’s my last home game, and it’s against Newberg.”by: DAN BROOD - HOLD IT HIGH -- Tualatin senior Sarah Visse (left) holds up the ball as Tigard's Liz Irving plays tough defense in Monday's game.

The two state powerhouses have met in the state championship game for four straight years, with Tualatin winning the state crown the past two years. But, in the teams’ first league meeting this season, Newberg scored a 14-7 win in a game played Oct. 3 in Newberg.

“We need to keep focused and stay confident,” Visse said of the upcoming rematch with Newberg.

“We’ve got the home-court advantage and we’ll be fired-up,” Tualatin coach Ryan Deahn said. “If we play like we’re able to, we can win.”

Tualatin, with the win over Tigard, improved to 9-1 in Pacific Conference play, keeping the Wolves a game behind Newberg, which is 10-0. Third-place Tigard moved to 6-4 in league play with the setback.

The motivated Timberwolves got off to a fast start in Monday’s match with Tigard.

Tualatin, with Madison Berggren scoring three goals in the first quarter, and with Visse and Zoe Linford adding one goal apiece, held a 5-0 lead at the end of the opening period.

The Wolves kept rolling in the second quarter, Visse scored back-to-back goals — the second coming off a pass from Linford — to up the lead to 7-0 with 4 minutes and 42 seconds left in the second quarter.

Abby Howard, Marisa Lovos and Berggren scored for Tualatin later in the period, helping the Wolves push their lead to 10-0 at halftime.

Tigard tried to battle back early in the second half. The Tigers got a breakaway goal by Kayla Wagenhofer to make the score 10-1 with 6:01 left in the third quarter.

After Tualatin answered with a backhand goal by Ashley Elisara, Tigard scored again, this time on a goal by Liz Irving off a pass from Wagenhofer, making the score 11-2 with 3:21 remaining in the period.

But Visse scored two goals before the period ended and Elisara added another backhand goal to give Tualatin a 14-2 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Berggren scored a pair of goals in the final stanza while Howard and Arielle Elisara added one goal apiece. Tigard got a goal by Taylor Roth in the fourth quarter to make the final score 18-3.

“The girls are playing really strong right now,” Deahn said.

Berggren was the leading scoring in Monday’s game with six goals. Visse added five goals and Howard and Ashley Elisara each had two goals. For Tigard, Wagenhofer, Irving and Roth had one goal apiece.

Tigard, on Monday, will face Lakeridge in a league game starting at 7 p.m. at the Lake Oswego Swim Center. Meanwhile, Monday’s showdown between Tualatin and Newberg may not be the last meeting of the season between those two squads.

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” Visse said. “But I hope we see them in the finals again.”