Defending Class 6A state champion Tualatin rolls to a 4-0 victory over Corvallis

by: DAN BROOD - CELEBRATION -- Tualatin freshman Abbey Anderson (1), Ariana Pumpelly and Alyssa Durdel (2) congratulate Megan Landmark (second from right) following her goal against Corvallis. TUALATIN — The Timberwolves admit it.

They still have a lot of items to work on and they still have a lot of improving to do.

That should serve as bad news to all of the other teams in the state.

That’s because the Tualatin High School girls soccer squad already appears to be pretty darn good.

The Timberwolves continued their early-season success last Thursday by rolling to a 4-0 win over Class 5A state power Corvallis in a non-league match played at Tualatin High School.

“We still have stuff to work on,” Tualatin senior midfielder Kelsey Wagner said after the victory. “But we’re getting better every game.”

Corvallis moved to 3-3 on the season with the setback, with two of the team’s losses coming to the defending Class 6A state champion Wolves and defending Class 5A state champ DAN BROOD - BOOT IT -- Tualatin High School junior Audrey DePaepe (8), between Corvallis' Brooke Nieman (12) and Sabrina Simpson, is about to kick the ball upfield during the Timberwolves' 4-0 victory.

Tualatin improved to 4-1-1 on the season with the victory. The Wolves’ only loss this year came against Issaquah, Wash., which is in the No. 5 spot in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Region VI rankings (Tualatin is at No. 6), and the team’s tie came against Skyline, Wash., which is in the No. 8 spot in the NSCAA Region VI rankings.

“It’s going pretty good,” Tualatin coach Rossano Rocha said. “We’ve got a whole new group of kids. Overall, we’ve only been together for 20 days and we have a lot of fine tuning that still needs to be done.”

The Wolves might have trouble convincing Corvallis of that.

Tualatin had 17 shots on goal in the contest. Meanwhile, the Timberwolf defense, including senior Makena Carkner, sophomore Natalie Shen, junior Jill Farley and junior Audrey DePaepe, among others, kept the Spartans from having a single shot on goal.

Tualatin, in last Thursday’s tilt, got early shots on goal from both sophomore Aryana Harvey and freshman Corrine Togiai.

The Wolves, and the ultra-quick Togiai, would soon strike again, this time, putting a goal on the scoreboard.

After a shot by Wagner was deflected, Togiai had a follow-up, sliding kick from eight yards out, with the ball sailing into the left side of the Corvallis goal, giving the Wolves a 1-0 lead with 23 minutes and 23 seconds left to play in the first half.

Tualatin got a pair of shots on goal from freshman Abbey Anderson and one each from junior Lauren Helmreich and Wagner during the remainder of the first half, but the Wolves weren’t able to convert on those shots, leaving them still with the 1-0 lead at halftime.

The Wolves didn’t waste much time trying to add to their advantage at the start of the second half.

Harvey and Wagner each had a shot on goal in the first two minutes of the half.

Then, with 31:45 remaining, Tualatin struck again.

Wagner took the ball down to the end line, to the right of the Corvallis goal. She then hit a quick, pinpoint pass to freshman Nicole LaTourette, who fired a shot into the left side of the net to up the lead to 2-0.

“I just wanted to get to the end line,” said Wagner, who had a pair of assists in the win. “I like being the playmaker. For me, an assist feels as good as a goal.”

From there, Tualatin continued to fire away at the Spartan goal, getting a pair of shots on goal by Togiai and one from Harvey in a four-minute span.

Junior midfielder Megan Landmark gave the Wolves a 3-0 lead with 14:17 left to play when, after taking a pass from Wagner, she hit an open-shot goal from 20 yards away.

Tualatin wrapped up the 4-0 win when sophomore Ariana Pumpelly scored on a shot from 10 yards out off an assist from Farley coming with 9:16 left in the match.

“We’ve got six or seven freshmen now playing with us,” Wagner said. “We’re integrating them into the team, but they’re already doing really good.”

And, while the younger girls are making their mark, the group of Tualatin seniors, including Wagner, Hana Dempsey, Erica Bruce, Mollie Freel and Carkner (Dempsey and Freel, both returning starters, didn’t play in last week’s match due to injury), are looking to go out in a big way.

“We have a few injuries now, but we have the potential to do really well,” Wagner said. “A lot of us seniors have been playing together since we were 10-years-old. Hopefully, we’ll win state.”

“It’s a race to November,” Rocha said. “The young girls are really playing well and we have so much depth that there’s no drop off at all when we substitute. We’re not at full strength right now, but, if we get there, it could be a fun ride.”

Tualatin will be back in action tonight (Thursday) when it plays at Liberty in a non-league match starting at 7 p.m. On Tuesday, the Wolves will play at Forest Grove in a 7 p.m. contest.

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