Last-minute goal gives Tigard 5-4 win over Grant

by: DAN BROOD - TIGER BALL -- Tigard senior Emilee Cincotta (left) keeps the ball away from a Grant defender in last week's match at Delta Park. The Tigers got a 5-4 victory.PORTLAND — A tie would have been disappointing.

It would have been discouraging. It would have been disheartening.

And the Tigard High School girls soccer team wanted nothing to do with it.

Yet, after jumping out to an impressive 4-1 halftime lead over a powerful Grant squad, that was exactly what the Tigers were looking at.

The Generals, getting a penalty kick goal by senior Hannah Griffiths-Boston in the 77th minute, tied the match at 4-4 — setting up a likely tie.

But the determied Tigers weren’t buying that. Tigard, with senior Emilee Cincotta scoring on a shot from 15 yards out on the right side of the field in the final minute of play, came away with a 5-4 victory in the non-league match played last Thursday at Delta Park’s Strasser Field.

“This is a really big win,” said Cincotta, who scored three goals in the victory. “Grant is a tough team, and we knew it would be a good game.”

“This should give us confidence,” said Tigard junior defender Sarah Schaffer, who had a pair of first-half assists. “We beat a really good team.”

With the loss, Grant fell to 3-1-1 on the season at that point. Tigard improved to 4-0 at that point with the win. And the Tigers are happy not to have a tie in their record.

“A tie would have been disappointing,” Cincotta said. “Coming back like that showed that we never give up.”

“We worked hard, and it showed,” Schaffer said. “We really wanted to win.”

by: DAN BROOD - DETERMINED DEFENDER -- Tigard sophomore Rachel Josephson (23) goes up high to keep the ball away from Grant's Lillian Jones during last Thursday's match at Delta Park. The Tigers got a 5-4 win. “The girls are playing like a real team,” Tigard coach Paul Slover said. “They are buying in to working together.”

The Tigers got off to a flying start in last week’s match with Grant.

Tigard took a 1-0 lead when Cincotta scored in the fifth minute off of a corner kick by Schaffer. Junior Faithe Wantland gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead when she scored in the 13th minute off a free kick assist by Schaffer.

A Grant goal, five minutes later, trimmed the margin to 2-1. But the Tigers answered back.

Tigard upped the lead to 3-1 when Cincotta scored off a cross from senior Liz Beth Flores in the 34th minute.

Then, as the first half was winding down, Tigard sophomore Natalie Bryant scored on a one-on-one situation, giving the Tigers their 4-1 halftime advantage.

“We had good combinations all over the field,” Schaffer said of Tigard’s first-half success.

But the talented Generals came out firing to start the second half. Grant cut the lead to 4-2 when freshman Mia Palmer scored on a turnaround shot into the upper left corner of the Tigard goal in the 51st minute.

Tigard tried to answer back, as Wantland and sophomore forward Taylor Bryant each had attacks on the Grant goal, but the Generals, getting some key defensive plays, withstood the charge.

Grant then trimmed the margin to one, at 4-3, when Griffiths-Boston scored on a close-range header shot off a corner kick by junior Louisa Alstot in the 60th minute.

The Tigers picked up the pace on both ends of the field after that. Tigard sophomore goalkeeper Larysa Cleaver came sprinting out and then slid to knock the ball away from Grant sophomore Jessie Ray, who had an open path to the goal in the 67th minute.

Soon after that, Natalie Bryant and a hard-hit, line-drive shot from 18 yards out, but Grant Keeper Brynne Schwabauer made the save on that attempt, keeping the score at 4-3.

In the 77th minute, Grant sophomore Maddy Hairston was fouled in the penalty box. Griffiths-Boston successfully put her ensuing penalty kick into the left side of the Tigard goal, knotting up the match at 4-4 going into the last couple of minutes.

The Tigers didn’t seem to put their heads down at all following Grant’s equalizer. In fact, they came storming right back.

Cincotta, after taking a pass from senior Kyla Smart, hit her hard ground shot from the right side of the field into the left side of the Grant goal. Natalie Bryant was also in the right spot, in front of the goal, to knock in Cincotta’s attempt if needed, but the shot was on the money.

“That speaks volumes about this team,” Slover said. “They could have been satisfied with a tie against a really good team. But it would have felt like a loss.”

“That felt really good,” Cincotta said of the match-winning goal.

The Tigers also feel good about their 4-0 start to the season.

“It’s because of our hard work,” Schaffer said. “And we’ve got a real good group this year.”

“No one expected that we’d do this,” Cincotta said. “And it makes us work that much harder.”

The win over Grant marked the second straight match that the Tigers came through late in the contest.

On Sept. 17, Tigard found itself locked in a scoreless tie with Wilsonville going into the final three minutes of that non-league contest played at Tigard High School. But Cincotta scored a pair of goals in those final minutes to help the Tigers post a 2-0 victory.

“These girls never give up, and they make it happen,” Slover said. “And we have real good leadership from our captains.”

Tigard picked up another win on Tuesday when it notched a 7-0 win over Sandy in a non-league match played at Sandy High School.

Tonight (Thursday), Tigard will host Sherwood in a non-league contest set to start at 7 p.m. at Tigard High School. On Tuesday, the Tigers will open their Pacific Conference schedule when the face Glencoe in a match starting at 7 p.m. at Hare Field in Hillsboro.

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