The Lady Bowmen beat Willamette 2-1 to advance to the state title match

by: DAN BROOD - ON TO THE FINALS -- The Sherwood girls soccer team, including Taylor Gersch, Rojia Stocker, Kyeli Hendryx and Michaela Pilkenton begin celebrating following the 2-1 semifinal win at Willamette.EUGENE — Jessica Imbrie was down on the turf at Willamette High School.

The Sherwood High School senior was crying out in agony. Her left ankle was in pain — intense pain.

And, as she was being helped off the field, not putting any weight on her left leg, she was a bit fearful.

“I was scared,” Imbrie said. “I thought my season was over.”

Well, later on that night, those tears of pain were replaced by a big smile. And, yes, Imbrie’s soccer season is continuing. In fact, Imbrie, and her Sherwood teammates will be playing in their biggest game of the season on Saturday.

The Lady Bowmen, with Imbrie springing back into action and scoring a pair second-half goals, powered their way to a 2-1 win over Willamette in a Class 5A state playoff semifinal game played Tuesday at Willmette High School.

“This means so much,” Imbrie said. “We’ve been waiting all season for this. I’m so happy.”

Willamette, which fell 2-0 to the Lady Bowmen in last year’s semifinal round, finished its season with a final overall record of 13-4.

Sherwood improved to 14-1-2 on the season with the victory. The Lady Bowmen also advanced to the Class 5A state championship for the second straight season. They’ll try to win their second consecutive state crown Saturday when they meet Summit in the Class 5A state title tilt, set to start at 10:30 a.m. at Hillsboro DAN BROOD - FROM INJURY TO GLORY -- Sherwood senior Jessica Imbrie (right) goes up for the ball during the early part of Tuesday's state semifinal match at Willamette. Imbrie suffered an ankle injury in the first half of the match, but she came back to score a pair of second-half goals.

“This is so big,” said Sherwood senior Meghan Schoen, who was playing in just her third match since returning from an ankle injury of her own. “Last year was so much fun, and we have a super close team this year.”

“This means everything to us,” Sherwood senior defender Annie Govig said. “Since Day One it’s been our goal to get to the championship game.”

But earning that return trip to the state title contest certainly didn’t appear to be easy.

“That’s a great team. They’re skilled,” Sherwood coach Bill Brown said of Willamette. “It took a great effort. We persevered under adverse conditions.”by: DAN BROOD - ARMS UP -- Sherwood coach Bill Brown puts his arms up high following the Lady Bowmen's first goal in Tuesday's win at Willamette.

The Lady Bowmen had some close calls in the first half of the contest. Sherwood sophomore Sarah Garoutte had a running shot from 15 yards out deflected off the crossbar of the Willamette goal less than seven minutes into the match.

Soon after, Sherwood got shots on goal from senior Michaela Pilkenton and Imbrie.

With 14 minutes and 46 seconds left in the first half, Sherwood senior Carley Mills had her shot from 10 yards out clank off the crossbar. Garoutte’s follow-up header shot also hit the crossbar.

Then, with 12:29 left before the intermission, Imbrie, sprinting to the ball in front of the Willamette goal, collided with Wolverine senior goalie Brittany Glassow. The collision left Imbrie on the turf, in pain, reaching for her left ankle.

“I was scared. I sprained that ankle before,” Imbrie said. “I thought my season might be over.”

Imbrie, after being helped off the field, got her left ankle taped up.

She didn’t return in the remainder of the first half and she gingerly ran on her injured ankle before the second half began. Imbrie didn’t start the second half for the Lady Bowmen, but she returned to action with 36:23 left to play in the match — and she didn’t take long to make her presence felt.

by: DAN BROOD - IN CHARGE -- Sherwood sophomore Sarah Garoutte keeps control of the ball in front of Willamette sophomore Michaela Herring during Tuesday's state semifinal contest.Just over a minute later, after taking a pinpoint pass from senior Mikayla Howes, Imbrie scored on a shot from 12 yards out, putting the ball into the right side of the Willamette goal to give Sherwood a 1-0 lead.

Willamette answered back, getting a goal by sophomore Sami Wilson off an assist from senior Haylee-Eckart to tie the match at 1-1 with 32:16 remaining.

Sherwood regained the lead on Imbrie’s second goal of the match. After taking a pass from junior Emily Harris, Imbrie put a running shot from seven yards out inside the right post to give the Bowmen a 2-1 advantage with 20:02 left to play.

“Both goals came off great passes,” Imbrie said. “They got the ball to me when I was open, and I kept thinking ‘I need to get these on frame.’”

Sherwood then had to survive a last-minute barrage by the Wolverines to wrap up the win.

With just 1:09 left to play, Sherwood senior goalkeeper Kyeli Hendryx ran out to grab the ball on a Willamette pass toward the Bowmen goal.

Then, with just 30 seconds left, Wilson took a frantic corner kick for the Wolverines. Mills got her head on the ball off the corner kick, knocking it away from the Bowmen goal. Following a scramble, Govig hit a long clear for Sherwood with 17 seconds left, all but wrapping up the victory.

“That was the best feeling,” Govig said of watching the ball sail downfield. “It was definitely nerve-wracking at the end.”

Soon after, the Lady Bowmen were celebrating their hard-fought semifinal victory.

“We just had a lot of heart,” Govig said. “We all really wanted to win.”

“We just wanted it more,” Schoen said. “We pushed through everything.”

“That was a great game,” Brown said. “I’m really happy and proud of the girls.”

Sherwood got strong play from its defense, including Govig, senior Taylor Gersch, Pilkenton, freshman Taylor Cole and senior Tear’sa Krieger, among others, throughout the contest.

“Annie Govig was magnificent,” Brown said. “And Taylor Gersch came up big. Our back four were stellar all night.”

Sherwood had six shots on goal in the contest while Willamette had two.

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