Remembrances: Fall 2017 in review
It's not yet snowing, but winter is coming — and while basketball, wrestling and swimming are on the horizon, the football, soccer, cross country and volleyball seasons are a wrap.
So in the wake of another successful — and in some cases not so successful — fall campaign, let's put a bow on the season that was on the cusp of what hopefully will be another exciting stretch on the hardwood, mat and in the pool for all the Hillsboro area schools.
There were a lot of impressive performances over the last few months: teams, players and games kept fans on the edge of their seats, brought them to their feet at times and even had them shaking their heads in disbelief. In this retrospective we'll celebrate some of the teams and players many marveled-at throughout. We can't name you all, but here are a few of the "outstanding" who took the playing fields and courts over the last few months.
Team of the season:
Glencoe girls soccer
Following a successful 2016 campaign in which the Tide finished fourth in the league, made it to the second round of the state playoffs and did so primarily on the back of All-American forward Olivia Dendinger, this season's Glencoe girls finished third in the Metro League, then powered their way to the state semifinals before losing to league and state power Sunset, all without Dendinger — who graduated and is playing for the University of Portland.
The Tide, while boasting two first-team All-Metro players and league Player of the Year Celeste Molina-Sanchez, succeeded with grit, determination and teamwork.
"This was the best year in program history," said Glencoe head coach Josh Richards. "The girls did spectacular things, and all of our seniors were the heart and soul of this team."
Runner-up: Liberty football
It would be hard to dismiss what the Falcons did in just their second season in the 6A and tough Metro League. Head coach Eric Mahlum took a team that won but two games last season and was winless in league play and led them to seven wins (including five in league play), a third place Metro finish and a spot in the state playoffs.
Not to be forgotten:
Glencoe volleyball, Hilhi boys
soccer, Glencoe football
Hurt only by living up to expectations, the Tide played their way to their second straight state volleyball tournament and were undoubtedly a top-10 team throughout the season.
The Hilhi Spartans boys soccer team won the NWOC championship and was poised for a state playoff push, but the squad was upset in the opening round, ending what was set to be a magical postseason run.
After receding numbers and a handful of losing seasons, Glencoe's second season of independent football resulted in a 7-2 record, growing participation numbers and excitement for next year.
Players of the Season
Aidan Maloney — The Liberty all-purpose back was a first-team All-Metro League selection on offense and a second-team selection defensively. The junior was one of the most explosive players in the league and a threat to score every time he touched the ball.
Ash Bailey — The senior outside hitter followed-up her State Softball Player of the Year selection last spring with a first-team all-league performance on the volleyball court this season. She was the inarguable leader of a Tide team that qualified for their second consecutive state tournament.
Celeste Molina Sanchez — The junior forward for Glencoe's girls soccer team was the Metro League Player of the Year and a truly dynamic player on the pitch. Her ball skills and ability to change a game simply as a result of "threat" were unrivaled.
Luis Mercado — The Hilhi senior was the unquestioned leader of the NWOC champions and for his efforts was selected the NWOC co-Player of the Year.
Khalid Aden — The senior Jaguar forward earned first-team All-Metro League honors in soccer and inspired Glencoe head coach Jonathan Brubaker to say the following about him following their game: "They have one very good player, and we just couldn't stop him."
Newcomer of the season
Century receiver Chance Sparks was the lone sophomore voted to the All-Metro League football first-team and inspired the following quote from first-year Jaguar head coach Sean McMenomy.
"Chance Sparks is setting himself up to be the best football player in the area," said McMenomy. "As a sophomore to do what he's done, has been amazing."
Coaches of the season
Josh Richards — The Glencoe girls soccer coach lost his best player and All-American forward from the year prior but led his team to a third place league finish and the state semifinals.
Eric Mahlum — The Liberty football coach reignited his team following an embarrassing loss to Jesuit and a loss to Sunset a week later, to win five consecutive league games to end the regular season and qualify for the state playoffs a year removed from a jump to the 6A classification.
Dean Miyama — The Hilhi girls soccer coach won his second NWOC Coach of the Year award in three years after leading a young group of Spartans to a second place league finish and state quarterfinal.
Game of the season
Glencoe vs. South Eugene girls soccer quarterfinal — The Tide traveled to No. 3-ranked South Eugene for the program's first quarterfinal appearance and the game didn't disappoint. Glencoe overcame an early deficit and a raucous crowd to tie the game, then won it in penalty kicks when junior Lourdes Salazar made the winning PK on the team's eighth attempt, setting off a frenzied celebration of Glencoe players, coaches and traveling fan faithful.
Moments of the season
Here are a few snapshots from the autumn action:
n Century volleyball getting their first Metro League win since joining the league in 2014, beating Beaverton on Cancer Awareness night at Century High School.
n Liberty volleyball faithful have to get a shout-out for their apparent traditional song-and-dance between the second and third sets. Their effort to "Shake it" by Metro Station even had the visiting Southridge girls caught in the groove.
n Hilhi and Century football teams getting wins late in the season. Both teams led by first-year coaches struggled with young and inexperienced squads, but knowing the level of work and commitment that these players and coaches put in to a football season made the looks on their faces and words coming from their mouths, that much sweeter after a win.
n A Roseburg fan chastising his own cheering section for poor behavior during a playoff loss to Liberty in a boys soccer state playoff game at Liberty High School.
n The Hilhi marching band practicing in the parking lot after school during soccer games. Nothing says fall sports like the sounds of drums and horns outside, and to see and hear the level of commitment of those kids who get little recognition was inspirational every time I was on that campus.
n Glencoe coming back to defeat Dallas 40-35 with a 98-yard interception return in the final minute trailing 35-33 and the Dragons on the verge of icing the game.
"The place just went crazy," said Glencoe head coach Mike Fanger about the play.
Tough guys of the season
Jack Wilson — the first-year Century quarterback took a beating during the Jaguars' one-win season, but despite the abuse he took on a regular basis, the junior signal-caller excelled on the field and earned the respect of even opposing coaches.
"I don't know that kid's name, but he's one of the most courageous quarterbacks I've seen," Beaverton head coach Bob Boyer said of Wilson.
Michaela Kirschten — the junior Glencoe center back who was a first-team All-Metro selection, was a rock in the defensive backfield for the Tide and led her team through the state playoffs despite a nagging leg injury.
Quote of the season
"We're winning the state championship next year." — Glencoe head coach Josh Richards.