Girls soccer: Tualatin, despite the loss of Popma, just seems to keep right on rolling
by: DAN BROOD BIG GAME — Tualatin senior Megan Freel (left) is about to hug senior Cassie Baldwin following a goal in Monday’s game. Baldwin scored four times in the win.

TUALATIN - It looked for a while like Cassie Baldwin wasn't going to get her hat trick.

The Tualatin High School senior forward, after scoring two first half goals, suffered through close call after close call during the second half of the Timberwolves' match with Forest Grove.

A near miss here, a diving save there.

But, eventually, Baldwin got her hat trick - and a little bit more.

Baldwin ended up with four goals and an assist to help power the Timberwolves to a 9-0 victory over the Vikings in a Pacific Conference girls soccer match played Monday at Tualatin High School.

'I'm happy now, but I was really nervous about the hat trick (three goals),' Baldwin said after the match. 'At halftime, everyone was saying 'you have to get a hat trick.' So this was a weight off my shoulders. And it feels real good to do this in my last league home game.'

With the loss, Forest Grove dropped to 1-11-1 in league play. Tualatin, which has clinched the Pacific Conference championship, improved to 13-0 on the season. The Wolves also have still yet to be scored upon in 2011, upping their season goal differential to 73-0.

'It's all really amazing,' Tualatin sophomore midfielder Lauren Helmreich said of the season that has yet to see the Wolves suffer a loss or even give up a goal. 'I feel so honored, as a sophomore, to be part of this program. We're all good, hard workers.'

'It's crazy,' Baldwin said. 'Our team chemistry is great, and winning league again is exciting. We hope to continue this.'

Tualatin, in Monday's game, played without a handful of regular starters, including the team's top scorer, senior Anna-Marie Popma, who suffered a broken collarbone in a match on Oct. 11 and will possibly miss the rest of the season.

'It's hard with the loss of Poppy (Popma),' Helmreich said. 'But we've all stepped up.'

'We were really upset and sad,' Baldwin said. 'We miss her out there, but I think we can all pull together.'

Baldwin started Monday's scoring parade with her first of four goals, coming with 18 minutes and 10 seconds left in the first half. On the play, Baldwin, driving with the ball from the right side, hit a left-footed shot from 17 yards away into the right side of the Forest Grove goal to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead.

Tualatin struck again with 13:16 left in the opening half. Sophomore Jill Farley started the scoring play with a corner kick from the right side. Tualatin junior Hana Dempsey batted Farley's corner kick to Helmreich, who smacked the ball into the net from 16 yards away to give the Wolves a 2-0 advantage.

Less than five minutes later, Farley upped the margin to 3-0 when, after driving past a Viking defender into the clear, she hit a shot from 15 yards out into the right side of the Forest Grove goal.

Baldwin would notch her second first-half goal with 1:03 left before the intermission after she scored on a close-range tap shot after taking a pass from Farley, making the score 4-0.

The Tualatin defense, featuring sophomore Maddie Campbell, junior Mollie Freel and Dempsey, among others, didn't allow Forest Grove to get a single shot on goal in the first half, preserving the Wolves' 4-0 lead at the intermission.

The Wolves then kept rolling in the second half.

They upped their lead to 5-0 when senior Megan Freel scored on a hard shot from nine yards out, following a pass from freshman Kyla Hackelman on the left side, coming with 32:38 left to play in the match.

Then, with 24:02 remaining, sophomore Megan Landmark scored on a skidding shot from 17 yards away off a pass from Helmreich to make the score 6-0.

Helmreich then scored her second goal of the match, when, after taking a pass from Baldwin, she fired a shot found its way inside the left post of the Viking goal, making the score 7-0 with 17:43 left to play.

'It's great to score,' Helmreich said with a smile. 'I only had a couple goals before this year. It's also great to get the ball to Cassie's feet.'

Speaking of Baldwin, throughout the second half, Baldwin was chasing the elusive hat trick, but coming up short.

With 31:50 left to play, she had a short-range shot blocked and her sliding follow-up attempt flew just wide right of the goal. With 17:09 remaining, Baldwin had another shot on goal saved and, with 12:59 left to play, she had a shot from 18 yards away sail just barely over the crossbar of the Viking goal.

But, with 9:51 left to play, it happened.

After taking a pass from Helmreich, Baldwin hit a spin-around shot from 17 yards out, with the ball hitting the net in the left side of the Forest Grove goal to complete her hat trick and give the Wolves an 8-0 lead.

Then, with 5:58 left to play, Baldwin struck again. After taking a short pass from Farley on a corner kick, she hit a bending shot from 20 yards away with the ball sailing inside the left post for her fourth goal of the match, capping off the 9-0 victory.

'The girls played well,' Tualatin coach Rossano Rocha said. 'We had a lot of missing girls tonight, but our strength is our depth, and our depth is really, really strong. We're like a machine in motion and we're getting scoring from a lot of people.'

'(Rocha) says our team is strong throughout,' Baldwin said. 'We all work so hard that we know that, if anyone gets hurt, we have someone who can step in and fill the spot.'

Tualatin had 24 shots on goal and 12 corner kicks in the victory. Forest Grove had one shot on goal, taken by junior Claire Nadauld with 1:23 left to play in the match, with Tualatin senior goalie Celeste Cota-Wockenfuss making the save on the shot.

Prior to the win over Forest Grove, Tualatin scored a 5-0 win over second-place Glencoe in a match played last Thursday at the 53rd Ave. fields in Hillsboro.

The Wolves were scheduled to finish their regular-season schedule Wednesday with a road match against Century. Results of that contest weren't available when the Times went to press.

Tualatin will next be in action when it starts play in the Class 6A state playoffs. First-round state playoff contests are scheduled to be held on Nov. 5.

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