The two Pacific Conference girls soccer powerhouses battle to a spirited 1-1 tie
by: DAN BROOD, HEADS UP — From left, Tigard’s Kristen Kelly and Courtney Schild and Tualatin’s Jaimie Martini and Annah Kennedy battle for the ball following a corner kick. The teams tied, 1-1.

TUALATIN - The Tigers and Timberwolves stepped onto the field tied for the top spot in the Pacific Conference standings.

After 80 minutes of playing time, after many crucial, clutch plays, after many heart-breaking close calls, the two talented teams stepped off the field. And they were still all tied up when it comes to Pacific Conference supremacy.

Nothing was settled as the Tigard and Tualatin high school girls soccer teams battled to a 1-1 deadlock in a Pacific Conference showdown played last Thursday at Tualatin.

'It's always a good game when we play Tigard,' said Tualatin senior forward Rachelle Kliewer, who scored the first goal of the match. 'It's a good rivalry.'

With the tie, Tualatin, which came into the match ranked No. 1 in the state, moved to 2-0-1 in league play and to 5-0-2 on the season. Tigard, ranked No. 7, also moved to 2-0-1 in Pacific Conference play and to 5-0-2 on the season.

The Tigers, in addition, seemed to be more pleased with the tie than their rivals from Tualatin.

'It feels like we won,' said Tigard sophomore defender Alex Hogan, who had a pair of big plays for the Tigers in the contest. 'This was absolutely fun. It's much more rewarding playing a team like Tualatin.'

'This is huge,' Tigard coach Chad Crosby said. 'That we were able to tie them on their field is big. The girls really stuck with it tonight. It was a chance to see them play against a very good team.'

Tualatin, in last Thursday's showdown, nearly put a goal on the scoreboard less than a minute into the match. Only 57 seconds had passed when Timberwolf sophomore Courtney Verloo hit a volley shot off a cross from senior midfielder Jaimie Martini. The ball flew past Tigard junior goalkeeper Chelsea Gray, who was running out on the play, and looked to be a certain Tualatin goal.

But, seemingly out of nowhere, Hogan came sprinting in and booted the ball away right before it crossed the goal line.

'It was probably a couple inches away,' Hogan said. 'I was just thinking `do not let it go in.''

The defenses dominated the rest of the first half. The Tualatin defense, including sophomores Lauren Butz, Annah Kennedy and Shelby Hawkinson, allowed Tigard just one shot on goal in the first 40 minutes. That shot, a free-kick attempt by Tigard senior Megan Moore, was grabbed by Tualatin senior goalkeeper Lindsey Parlee.

The Tigard defense, including Hogan, Moore, senior Kristen Kelly and junior Kaila Bittinger also kept Tualatin off the scoreboard in the first half.

The Wolves did, however, have a pair of scoring opportunities late in the first 40 minutes. With 5:17 left before intermission, Verloo hit a bending shot from the right side from 15 yards away. Gray made the save on the shot, diving to her left to catch the ball.

A minute later, Martini's running shot from 25 yards away hit the left post of the Tigard goal, leaving the teams tied at 0-0 at halftime.

The Wolves, however, came out strong to start the second half. They got a shot on goal, which was saved by Gray, by junior Kaileigh Cushing just 1:03 into the half.

They would then take advantage of their next scoring opportunity. With 37:34 left to play in the match, Tualatin grabbed a 1-0 lead on a rebound goal by Kliewer.

Timberwolf freshmen Jensen Skinner started the scoring play with her shot on goal from about 25 yards away. Gray deflected the shot, but the ball went right to Kliewer, who put her follow-up attempt into the back of the net.

'I was in the right place at the right time,' Kliewer said. 'We had a good halftime talk and we came out strong in the second half.'

But Tigard didn't let up. The Tigers, as the second half was winding down, got shots from sophomore Kim Dazzo, from Moore and a header shot from Kelly. But, with less than 14 minutes remaining, they still found themselves facing a 1-0 deficit against the top-ranked team in the state.

But, with Hogan took care of that with her second crucial play of the contest. Hogan, with 13:33 left to play, took a corner kick from the left side of the field. Martini headed away the kick, but the ball, coming out of a scramble, bounded back to Hogan. From 18 yards away, left of the goal, she hit a hard shot that found its way inside the right post and into the net, tying the match at 1-1.

'I just wanted it to go in so bad,' Hogan said. 'We weren't going to let up. We didn't want to lose.'

'She had a big game for us,' Crosby said.

Tualatin had shots from Cushing, Kliewer and Verloo in the final 11 minutes, but they were either off the mark or saved by Gray. Tigard got a shot on goal by junior Amanda Howie with 2:53 to play, but Parlee made the save on that attempt.

With just 30 seconds to play, the Tigers had one last chance on a header shot by Kelly off a free kick by Moore, but the shot was deflected out of bounds, leaving the teams with the 1-1 tie.

'I felt like this was a carbon copy of the Jesuit game (also a 1-1 tie),' Tualatin coach Rossano Rocha said. 'We just didn't finish. We have a lot to work on.'

'This game just shows what stuff we need to work on,' Kliewer said.

The two teams will meet again Oct. 19 at Tigard High School.

'It looks like there's going to be a lot to play for in that one,' Crosby said. 'And it's going to be on our field the next time.'

'I'm looking forward to it,' Hogan said. 'I'm looking forward to winning.'

The Wolves, too, are anticipating the rematch.

'I'm looking forward to it,' Kliewer said.

'We'll be ready,' Rocha said. 'It's on their field, so we'll have our work cut out for us, but we'll put the work in and be ready.'

Tigard and Tualatin each followed up the tie with victories on Tuesday. Tigard won 3-0 at home against Canby, behind Howie's two goals, while the Wolves triumphed 6-0 at home against Newberg.

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