On a chilly Saturday night, Wilson’s women’s varsity soccer team played against their opponents from Beaverton. It was Wilson’s first playoff match since becoming PIL champs in October after a 5-0 win against Madison. “I’ve been waiting for this since my freshman year of high school soccer,” said senior Sofia Neves, “we’ve really put our hearts into this season.”
The playoff matches are do or die. Win, and the team continues to fight another day. Lose, and the season is over. “You have to go in [the game] not looking at the opponent,” said senior Chloe Unflat, “you need to look at it as a game you have to win.” Beaverton seemed to have the same mindset. The opposing team came out incredibly strong, maintaining the majority of possession, and forcing senior goalkeeper, Olivia Williams, who was recently named as one of Oregon’s top high school soccer players, to make some crucial saves in the first half.
“I think we didn’t expect Beaverton to come out that strong and with that much energy,” said Neves. While it remained tied at 0-0 throughout the first forty-five minutes, Beaverton was clearly the stronger team. “Our first half was a little rocky because we were still getting out our nerves and we were still feeling it out,” said Unflat.
However, once the second half started, a switch was flipped on and Wilson was back in it to win it. Early on, junior MacKenna Antonini was on the receiving end of a cross and headed it just wide of the post. That was just one of many opportunities for the home team. Wilson continued to step up the attack, evening out the possession and pressuring Beaverton to play defensively throughout the rest of the match. “Once we started pressing in the second half, that’s when we put one in the back of the net,” said Unflat. The Trojans managed to get on the board as a result of a corner kick late in the second half. Ani Posner served a perfect ball into the box, but neither team was able to get a good touch on it. It was a scrappy fight in front of the goal and eventually, junior Lucy Quinn managed to poke the ball through the mob and into the back of the net. It was a breath of relief for Wilson, but the game was far from over.
The final ten minutes were a struggle for both teams. Beaverton was desperate to get a goal to salvage their season and Wilson was fighting to keep their opponent’s relentless pursuits out of their half. With three minutes to go, Wilson had another opportunity on goal when Debby Austin fired an absolute banger from the top of the box. The ball just barely skimmed over the crossbar.
The game ended in a 1-0 victory for the Trojans. When the final whistle blew, the Wilson bench charged onto the field, celebrating the victory with their teammates and their progression on to their next playoff game against West Salem. “It feels good to get past the first round,” said senior Maeson Graff, “we haven’t gotten past it in a while.” This was Wilson’s first time getting through the first round of playoffs since 2014 when they beat Gresham at home 1-0. When asked about the Wilson’s success over the season, Unflat said, “I think it’s just this team. We all get along. We have a great time. It’s the best team honestly in all my four years [of high school], and we really wanted it [the win] and we wanted it together as a team. And when we go out on the field, we can be unstoppable!”
Words and photos by Anna Hawkins