Tigard falls 3-2 in the back-and-forth state playoff match

PORTLAND — They battled.

And they took the lead.

They kept battling. And they took the lead again.

But, in the end, the battling Tigers came up just short.

The Tigard High School boys soccer team saw is season come to a close with a 3-2 loss to Lincoln in a back-and-forth Class 6A state playoff first-round match played Saturday at Lincoln High School.

“We played with a lot of heart and left it all on the field,” Tigard senior Brian Josephson said after the game. “As team captain, that’s all I can ask for.”by: DAN BROOD - PLAYOFF BATTLE -- Tigard junior Javier Sanchez-Figueroa (left) keeps Lincoln junior Michael Sheldon away from the ball.

With the win, Lincoln improved to 9-1-4 on the season and advanced to play in the second round of the state playoffs.

Tigard, the No. 4 team out of the Pacific Conference, finished its season with a final overall mark of 2-11-2, although the Tigers had to forfeit four wins and a tie during the regular season.

“Oh yeah, we had a great year,” Josephson said. “We had some adversity and difficulties this year, but this team fought to the end of the last game of the season.”

“This team, to no one’s surprise, didn’t match the talent of past teams,” Tigard coach Tracy Hasson said. “But this team had 10 times the heart and passion, and that’s not a disservice to past teams. They worked hard and fought for everything.”

And that hard work almost lead the Tigers to a road victory to start the playoffs.

Tigard took a 1-0 lead in Saturday’s match at Lincoln when sophomore Joseph Lea scored on a header shot from 13 yards away off a corner kick by junior Javier Sanchez-Figueroa coming with 29 minutes and 29 seconds left in the first half.

The Tigers, getting strong play from defender Josephson, Sanchez-Figueroa and junior Mick Whitehead, as well as from junior goalie Joni Mercado, kept their 1-0 lead throughout the first half.

Lincoln came out fired-up to start the second half and the Cardinals tied the match at 1-1 on a goal by senior Cole Peters coming with 34:11 left to play in the match.

But persistent Tigard answered right back less than a minute later.

With 33:16 remaining, Lea scored on his second header goal of the night to give the Tigers a 2-1 advantage. Tigard junior Sean McMenamon started the scoring play with a free kick from 35 yards away. The ball went to Sanchez-Figueroa, who headed the ball to Lea.

“We didn’t give up,” Josephson said.

Lincoln rallied to tie the game at 2-2 on another goal by Peters coming with 12:28 left to play.

The Cardinals then got what turned out to be the game-winning goal when senior Keegan Lape scored on a scramble for the ball in front of the Tigard goal with 3:23 left to play in the match.

“It was a bitter way to lose, and it was frustrating,” Hasson said. “But we fought to the end. I’m very, very proud of the team.”

The playoff loss marked the final high school match for Tigard seniors Cameron Johnson, Josephson, Jake Pietrok, Antonio Alcaraz, Trevor Plaut and Abdi Mohamoud.

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