The Sherwood girls soccer team gets ready for Saturday's playoff opener
by: DAN BROOD, ON DEFENSE — Sherwood sophomore Michelle Hlasnik (right) looks to block a kick by Hillsboro’s Marisol Cardoza. Hlasnik scored the Lady Bowmen’s only goal.

HILLSBORO - They didn't win.

But they say they played strong against what looks to be a very strong team.

And, now, they say they're ready for postseason play.

The young Sherwood High School girls soccer team, following its hard-fought 2-1 back-and-forth loss to No. 2-ranked Hillsboro last Thursday at Hillsboro High School, says its ready for the playoffs.

'This will definitely make us better,' said Sherwood sophomore midfielder Michelle Hlasnik, who scored the Lady Bowmen's goal in last Thursday's match at Hillsboro. 'You learn more playing a team like that. We hope to go far in the playoffs.'

With the win, Hillsboro improved its Northwest Oregon Conference division-leading record to 8-0-1 at that point. Sherwood, in second place in the division, moved to 5-2-2 in league and to 8-3-2 on the season at that point.

The Lady Bowmen start postseason play on Saturday when they host Glencoe, the No. 3 team from the other NWOC division, in a league playoff contest starting at 5 p.m. at Sherwood High School.

The winner of Saturday's league playoff tilt will advance to play in the Class 5A state playoffs.

'If we bring the type of effort and play hard like we did today, we'll be around for awhile,' Sherwood coach Bill Brown said.

In last Thursday's match, Sherwood, getting some strong defensive play, withstood a strong Spartan offensive attack in the first 20 minutes of the match.

Hlasnik had one of the key defensive plays as she deflected the ball away from Spartan senior standout Sheridan Jones in front of the goal seven minutes into the contest.

Lady Bowmen freshmen goalkeeper Kassie Flint also made a key defensive play as she leapt to deflect a shot on goal by Hillsboro senior Cheyenne Jones into the crossbar. Flint also made a leaping block of a shot by Hillsboro Jessica Flinn late in the first half.

Meanwhile, Sherwood started to take more control on the offensive end. The Lady Bowmen got shots on goal from junior Erica Chamberlain, junior Courtney Smurdon and Hlasnik in the last 10 minutes of the first half, which ended with the teams still locked up in a scoreless tie.

Hlasnik and the Lady Bowmen broke that scoreless tie 5 minutes and 42 seconds into the second half. Sherwood junior midfielder Amanda Dutra started the scoring play with a pass ahead toward the Spartan goal. The ball was headed back by Hillsboro's Ciera Strickland, but it went right to Hlasnik.

The Sherwood sophomore, from about 17 yards out, hit a high, hard shot that sailed over the keeper and into the back of the net, giving the Lady Bowmen a 1-0 lead.

'That was a great goal by Michelle,' Brown said.

'I just shot it and it went in,' Hlasnik said. 'It was nice to see it go into the net.'

Hillsboro answered back, getting the tying score on a goal by Cheyenne Jones, coming with 16:16 left to play in the second half.

The Spartans, with just under 10 minutes to play, took a 2-1 lead when junior Alicia Brodrick scored on a high shot from 30 yards away. The shot glanced just off the fingertips of a leaping Flint.

Sherwood's final opportunity at a tying goal came with just under a minute to play. Dutra had a free kick from 33 yards out, but her attempt was blocked by a wall of Spartan defenders, leaving Hillsboro with the 2-1 victory.

'I thought we played pretty well,' Brown said. 'We had them on the run. We have to feel good about how we played.'

Sherwood, on Tuesday, posted a 5-0 over Century.

The victory gives Sherwood a league mark of 6-2-2 and an overall record of 9-3-2 going into postseason play.

Glencoe, Sherwood's opponent in Saturday's Northwest Oregon Conference playoff tilt, has an overall record of 5-9-0.

The Crimson Tide had a 2-8-0 record in league matches.

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