Tualatin — A showdown of Three Rivers League vs Pacific Conference powers #8 Tualatin and Sherwood went down on Friday in Tualatin. The Timberwolves looked to pick up a dub after a couple tough, tight losses to Jesuit and Wilsonville, while the Bowmen desperately needed a win with their non-conference being plagued by offensive struggles and great defense, resulting in five ties entering the day. A defensive showdown was sure to endure, and man it definitely turned out to be one!
From the get go to the end, this one was going to be won or lost in the midfield, with both teams showing their muscle in the middle throughout. The first real opportunity of the game came in the 19th minute when Tualatin drilled a direct shot at Sherwood’s Tali Kozma, who came up with a huge save to force a corner kick. After the attempt was knocked out by the Bowmen, Tualatin’s second attempt resulted in a Brook Burke header that was denied by Kozma, with the rebound attempt by Grace Richmond hitting the cross bar and going over the net.
In the 33rd minute, Sherwood had their first prime opportunity of the match when Ella Weathers got loose and had a great chance on net, but an aggressive slide tackle by Natalie Dearborn broke up the attempt to keep the match scoreless. The first half was extremely physical, with both teams pushing the line on physicality and getting away with plays that might normally have been called fouls. This physicality played a major role in the game remaining scoreless at the half between the teams, both of whom showcased strong defensive efforts.
The Timberwolves would catch a massive break in the 63rd minute with the staunch Sherwood defense. It started with a great thread of passes that got the ball to a running Sophia Aldinger, who then pushed the ball to the edge of the Bowmen defense. Kozma came out of the net, which had Aldinger try to score on a shot that was broken up by the outside back, but the deflection bounced into the left side of the net for a Tualatin score and made it 1-0 Tualatin.
With the game winding down, the Bowmen put their offense into overdrive in an effort to even the score with Tualatin. Their best chance of the game came in the 72nd minute when a chain of events presented a wide open shot in the box for Sherwood, but in an extremely gutsy move, Grace Richmond broke up the play by using a header right in front of a shot attempt to knock it out of bounds for a corner kick. It was a dangerous, high risk play, but it ultimately did the trick as their corner attempt was cleared out of the zone. With strong back line play, the Timberwolves hung on for a 1-0 dub over Sherwood to improve to 3-2-2 on the season, while dropping Sherwood to 1-3-5 this season.
Tualatin: Its a huge victory that will give them momentum entering Three Rivers League play on Monday in Tigard. The back line defense deserves the game balls from this one, as their efforts ultimately shut down most opportunities that Sherwood had to score on the game. There are four big names to remember on Tualatin: Grace Richmond, Avery Porter, Peyton Howard, and Avery Pratt. These girls will be the ones suffocating TRL offenses in October.
Sherwood: Once again, the offense cannot produce a goal and the Achilles heel continues to affect them. Defensively, there are second to none beyond Jesuit in their showing this season, with Lainee Derry, Taylor Holt, and Ellie Schmidt being the stronghold that helps aid Tali Kozma in the net. However, without an offense that can score, there will be more ties and losses to come. Its hard to say what they need to do to generate offensively, but I’d be making it an immediate priority entering Pacific Conference play on Monday.