Spartan girls outlast their rivals in a 4-3 victory at Hare Field

Rivalry games often are intense, and Tuesday night’s girls soccer match between Hillsboro and Glencoe proved to be no except to that rule.

Powered by a goal and two assists from senior midfielder Tatiana Rodriguez, the Spartans managed to fend off the Crimson Tide to pick up their second Pacific Conference victory of the season in a 4-3 barnburner at Hare Field.

Hilhi (8-2 overall, 2-1 Pacific) grabbed the lead by scoring two goals midway through the first half. Rodriguez notched the first in the 19th minute, on an assist by Kylee Taube. Three minutes later, Rodriguez assisted on the second, which came from Sami Moellmer. Both shots beat Glencoe goalkeeper Caitlin Kastelic from distance.

The Crimson Tide (4-4-1, 0-3) did not go away, though, getting the first of two Olivia Dendinger goals at about the 30-minute mark. A freshman midfielder/forward, Dendinger latched onto a through ball from Lauren Roof and then beat a couple of defenders and Spartans goalkeeper Emily Jones to get Glencoe on the scoreboard.

Hilhi answered back just three minutes before halftime on a strike from Eileen Reyna, with the assist again coming from Rodriguez, providing the Spartans with a two-goal advantage going into the final 40 minutes.

Having started the match playing in a 3-5-2 formation, Glencoe switched it up to a 4-4-2 in the second period and started applying more pressure on the Spartans’ defense. Dendinger trimmed her side’s deficit back to a single goal when she got past a couple of defenders and scored from outside the penalty area.

But Kennedy Taube added an insurance tally on a ball from Bri Miyama with about 13 minutes to play — and that last score would prove pivotal by the time the match ended, as it turned out to be the game-winner.

Hilhi — which ranked second in Class 6A in goals scored as of Wednesday afternoon — actually had a sublime chance to pad its lead when it earned a penalty kick with the score still 4-2, but Kastelic came up with a big save to keep her team’s hopes of a comeback alive.

Her effort was rewarded when Dominique Mossman scored with eight minutes remaining to pull the Tide back within one, but they could get no closer.

The victory boosted Hilhi into a tie for third place in the conference with Newberg and also put the Spartans back on a winning track. They saw their seven-game win streak snapped last Thursday in a 2-0 defeat at home to Tualatin, a perennial state power that has either won outright or tied for every Pacific Conference title since 2009.

Despite that loss, the Spartans appear to be putting themselves in position to join the upper echelon of the league. Notably, they shut out the Timberwolves until about the 50-minute mark of that contest. Since joining the conference in the fall of 2010, until last week, Hilhi had never lost to Tualatin by fewer than six goals in league play.

This season is already shaping up to be the Spartans’ best since the move to Class 6A. In 2012, they went 1-3-3 and tied for fifth in the league. Just three games in, this year’s squad has already tied last season’s in terms of points (six) and surpassed it in conference victories.

Hilhi is idle until Monday, when it welcomes McMinnville for a 4:30 p.m. contest, while Glencoe travels to Forest Grove for a 7 p.m. matchup.

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