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Late goal tips Tigard in quarterfinals


The young Tiger squad falls 2-1 to Lakeridge on Saturday

by: DAN BROOD - INTO THE AIR -- Tigard junior Megan Franz heads the ball upward during the Tigers' state playoff quarterfinal match with Lakeridge on Saturday. The Tigers were edged by a 2-1 margin.TIGARD — Coming into the 2012 season, Tigard High School girls soccer coach Paul Slover didn’t know what to expect from his young Tiger squad.

But, whatever those expectations may have been, it’s safe to say that the Tigard team exceeded them.

The youthful Tigers battled their way to the quarterfinal round of the Class 6A state playoffs, and came oh-so-close to going even farther.

Lakeridge, getting a goal with less than four minutes to play, ended Tigard’s season by scoring a 2-1 win over the Tigers in a Class 6A state playoff quarterfinal match played Saturday at Tigard High School.

“It was really a very good game,” Slover said of Saturday’s contest. “We made a couple little mistakes in back, and Lakeridge did a good job putting pressure on us back there.”

Lakeridge, the Three Rivers League champion, improved to 12-4-1 on the season with the victory. The Pacers also advanced to the semifinal round of the state playoffs, where they hosted Clackamas on Tuesday.by: DAN BROOD - A FOOT ON IT -- Tigard sophomore defender Sarah Schaffer knock the ball to a teammate during Saturday's state quarterfinal match with Lakeridge.

Tigard finished its season with a final overall record of 12-2-3. It was also a season that saw the Tigers win a share of the Pacific Conference championship.

“The girls did really well,” Slover said. “I honestly had no idea that we’d be this decent. We had good senior and junior leadership and we had impactful freshmen. That’s what I didn’t anticipate.”

In Saturday’s quarterfinal match at Tigard, both teams battled evenly throughout a scoreless first half. The Tigers got a nice cross from junior midfielder midway through the half. Then, late in the half, Tiger freshman forward Natalie Bryant had a baseline cross that Lakeridge senior goalie Sarah Swanson had to make a save on.

The Pacers took a 1-0 lead when senior Maddie Krauss won a challenge deep in Tigard territory and then scored with 25 minutes and 41 seconds left in the second half.

A few minutes later, Tigard switched to a 4-2-4 formation in an attempt to power up its offensive attack. The strategy almost worked right away, as Tigard junior Kyla Smart blasted a line drive that looked to be a possible goal, only to see Swanson come up with a save.

“Kyla played really well in the second half,” Slover said. “She gave us some great chances.

But, not long after that, Tigard wouldn’t be denied.

Cincotta, after fending off a Lakeridge defender, had a low, hard-hit shot from the top of the box for a goal that tied the score a 1-1 with 13:14 left to play. The goal was Cincotta’s fourth in postseason play.

“She was amazing,” Slover said.

Both teams turned up the intensity level after that, with Tigard getting a shot on goal by senior Cathy Lara.

Lakeridge got the game-winning goal with 3:42 left to play when senior Krissy Craig won a ball in the Tigard defense and had a free run at the Tigard goal.

The playoff loss marked the final high school match for Tigard seniors Elizabeth Flores, Lara, Sara Brazier and Berit Foster.

“The seniors did a good job with their leadership and incorporating the younger players,” Slover said. “Everyone is included.”

Tigard should return a strong group of players next year, including Cincotta and junior Erin Graham, who were both first-team all-Pacific Conference picks this year. As well as Smart, junior Megan Franz, sophomore Sarah Schaffer and freshman goalie Larysa Cleaver, who all also earned all-league honors this season.

“I’m hoping this season will be a good learning experience,” Slover said. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve been to the quarterfinals twice. Hopefully, next year we can break through that.”

Dan Brood and Matt Sherman contributed to this story.