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Perrydale sophomore Sydney Van Steenberge controls the ball during Western Mennonite/Perrydale’s state quarterfinal game against Glide at West Salem High.
November 14, 2012
WEST SALEM -- As she watched her shot rocket toward the goal late in Saturday's second half, Sydney Van Steenberge -- along with the rest of the Western Mennonite/Perrydale faithful -- held their breath.
But as it sailed inches over the crossbar, the Perrydale sophomore put her hands over her face in disbelief.
"We couldn't finish our shots - I couldn't finish my shots," Van Steenberge said after Saturday's 2-0 loss -- Western Mennonite's first of the season -- to Glide in the Class 3A-2A-1A girls soccer state quarterfinals at West Salem High School.
"We stuck with it and we tried, we just got unlucky."
It's easy to see why Van Steenberge, who earlier this season made a verbal commitment to play for the University of Oregon, might try to shoulder the blame.
But Saturday's loss turned out to be unlucky for everyone in a Pioneers' jersey against a very physical and talented Glide squad.
No. 3-seed Glide (13-2) moved on to face No. 1-seed Valley Catholic in Tuesday's semifinal, which ended after the Itemizer-Observer went to press.
The Wildcats benefited early from a controversial foul call in the box in the 13th minute that gave Glide's Caroline Brown a penalty kick.
She converted the shot, beating Pioneer freshman goalkeeper Emma Gibb, to give Glide a 1-0 lead.
That call ended up being a tough pill to swallow.
"That was an intensity killer, especially since (the call) was very close -- it really wasn't (a foul) to me," Perrydale sophomore Cheyenne Locke said.
The Pioneers regrouped at halftime and brought out immediate energy in the second half, as Van Steenberge drilled a shot at the goal in the first 30 seconds.
It hit the crossbar and bounced harmlessly out of bounds.
"It was really frustrating and you try to fix the next (shot), but I couldn't," Van Steenberge said of her squad's inability to put one away.
"But that's, you know, how the game is."
Still down 1-0, the Pioneers (14-1-1) executed one more barrage of shots with 8 minutes to play until Glide's Kali Vickery took advantage of a transition ball on the right side to put away her team's second goal with 5:41 remaining on the clock.
"You know what, it didn't happen all season where we couldn't get them in, but it had to happen sometime," Western Mennonite co-coach Ben Handrich said.
In total, Locke tallied 14 goals and nine assists, Van Steenberge had 13 goals and six assists and Perrydale sophomore Emily Nelson added five goals and an assist on the year.
Western Mennonite/Perrydale allowed just seven goals on the season.
Despite the loss, the Pioneers didn't end the year without plenty of highs in a season where they battled injuries, played without reserves and filled in at different positions.
Western Mennonite won the Special District 3 league title with an undefeated 13-0-1 record and Van Steenberge was named Player of the Year for the second straight season.
The Pioneers will also lose just one senior -- Karli Mast -- to graduation.
"We've got a lot to look forward to," co-coach Kelsey Sommer said.
"Overall, the season was great. It's a lot more than most teams can ask for, it's just hard to end it like this."
Added Locke: "We were supposed to be a middle of the league kind of team. (People said) `Oh, it's just going to be a building year for Western Mennonite.'
"We showed people."