The Timberwolves battle hard, but fall to Newberg in the championship

by: DAN BROOD - GOING FOR THE GOLD -- Tualatin High School senior Sarah Visse reaches out for the ball during Saturday's Oregon High School Water Polo State Tournament girls championship game. The Timberwolves fell to Newberg, 15-6, in the title contest. BEAVERTON — There were tears.

There was disappointment.

But those things didn’t last very long.

Soon after, they were replaced with smiles, laughter and hugs of congratulations.

And, according to the Tualatin High School girls, rightfully so.

That makes sense, after all, the young Timberwolf squad, which began the season with just two returning starters, had battled its way all the way to the championship game of the Oregon High School Water Polo State Tournament.

by: DAN BROOD - TOP SCORER -- Sophomore Madison Berggren (left) led the Wolves in scoring during their state semifinal win over Barlow.And, although the Wolves fell 15-6 to fast-starting Newberg in Saturday’s state championship game played at the Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center, the Tualatin girls still had plenty of reason to smile.

“I wouldn’t have had the season go any other way,” Tualatin senior Sarah Visse said after the championship game. “We had such good team chemistry and we all really enjoyed each other.”

“We had so many challenges to overcome,” Tualatin junior goalie Kate McDonnell said. “We played water polo the way we knew how. I’m so proud of how we did this year. It definitely was a fun year.”

“I love our team,” Tualatin sophomore Madison Berggren added.

Newberg, which has now faced the Timberwolves in the past five state championship games, finished its season with a final overall record of 29-1.

Tualatin, which was trying to win its third straight state championship, finished its season with a final overall mark of 19-5.

“The girls played really well,” Tualatin coach Ryan Deahn said. “I’m very proud of the players. They all worked really hard, and they knew they had to. The girls played with a lot of heart.”by: DAN BROOD - TAKING AIM -- Tualatin's Emily Watt gets ready to shoot over Newberg's Kylie Dunn during Saturday's state title game.

Newberg, in Saturday’s state title contest, sprinted out to an early advantage. The Tigers got a breakaway goal from junior Alysha Bush less than a minute into the game to take a 1-0 lead.

Newberg then got four straight goals from junior Cassie Beecher to claim a 5-0 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

“You can’t afford to be down five goals to a team like that,” Deahn said. “We play better in the second halves of games, for whatever reason.”

Newberg got a goal from Bush to open the second quarter, pushing its lead to 6-0.

Tualatin was able to break through when junior Emily Watt scored on a shot from seven yards away off pass from Visse, making the score 6-1 with 5 minutes and 17 seconds left to play in the second quarter.

Newberg answered back with goals from Bush, sophomore Kylie Dunn and junior Abbie Woginrich to open a 9-1 lead with 2:20 left in the half.

The Wolves struck again right before halftime, getting a goal from the left side by sophomore Marisa Lovos off an assist from Visse coming with 34 seconds left in the half, making the score 9-2 at the break.

It looked to be a fired-up Tualatin team taking the pool to start the second half. McDonnell blocked three straight Newberg shots to start the third DAN BROOD - TERRIFIC TIMBERWOLVES -- The Tualatin High School girls water polo players and coaches gather following Saturday's state championship game. The Wolves and Newberg met for the title for the fifth straight year.

Newberg did get a goal by sophomore Emmie Schmidt, but the Wolves answered right back with a lob-shot goal by senior Abbie Howard, making the score 10-3 with 2:58 remaining in the period.

With 1:04 left in the quarter, Tualatin freshman Zoe Linford scored on a long-range lob shot from the left side of the pool, trimming the margin to 10-4.

Newberg came back with a breakaway goal by Bush coming with 19 seconds left in the period, giving the Tigers an 11-4 lead going into the fourth quarter.

The Timberwolves, fighting to the end, got a goal by Berggren off a pass by Linford with 2:14 left to play, making the score 13-6 at that point.

Newberg, with a couple of late goals, made the final score 15-6.

“We went out battling,” Visse said. “We weren’t going to let them have anything they didn’t deserve.”

The Wolves certainly did seem to battle to the end, and they also seemed to keep a positive attitude — thanks in part to Berggren.

“I like to keep things positive,” she said with a smile.

“Madison is never negative,” McDonnell said.

Prior to the championship game, Tualatin posted a 13-4 win over Barlow in a state tournament semifinal game played Friday at Tualatin Hills.

The Wolves, behind the scoring of Berggren, got off to a fast start in that contest.

The left-handed sophomore had six goals in the first quarter, giving Tualatin a 6-0 lead at the end of the period.

Visse, Berggren and Lovos each scored a goal in the second quarter as the Wolves upped their lead to 9-1 at halftime.

Berggren led the Wolves in the win with nine goals. Visse added three goals.

Berggren and Visse were each was an all-tournament first-team selections.

Lovos was a second-team all-tourney selection.

Howard and McDonnell were both named to the all-tournament honorable-mention team.

Saturday’s state championship match marked the final high school game for Tualatin’s two seniors, Visse and Howard.

“I loved all of it,” Howard said.

“To get to the championship game all four years is pretty special,” Visse said.

“We’ll miss Sarah and Abbie,” Deahn said. “They were the heart of this team.”

Tualatin should have a strong group of returnees back next year. And it likely will be a motivated group.

“Next year starts tomorrow,” McDonnell said.

Members of the state runner-up Tualatin High School girls water polo team include seniors Visse and Howard; juniors McDonnell and Rebecca Walsh; sophomores Berggren, Lovos and Kami O’Neill and freshmen Ashley Elisara, Arielle Elisara, Linford and Ivy Scott.

Deahn is the team’s head coach and Nick Kish is the team’s assistant coach.

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