Spartans eliminate Grizzlies from state playoffs

    Corvallis made the most of its scoring opportunities, connecting on two early strikes before pulling away late to defeat Ashland 5-1 in the first round of the OSAA Class 5A girls soccer playoffs Tuesday in Corvallis.

    Led by strikers Aja Bumpus and Wendy Bare, the Spartans squelched the Grizzlies’ early momentum with a ninth-minute goal, then tacked on another in the 18th to take a 2-0 lead into halftime.

    “We had three opportunities that just barely missed the goal and that just takes the wind out of your sails,” Ashland coach Eric Wolff said.

    The 10th-seeded Grizzlies, who finished their season 10-3-1 after placing second in the Midwestern League, cut the lead in half when Lily Annen scored six minutes into the second half off a Liv West assist. West drove into the attacking third before angling a ball to Annen, who delivered from inside the box.

    Minutes later Ashland came within a whisker of tying the game when the Spartans’ keeper, while attempting to clear the ball, instead booted it off the back of Ashland’s Mya Elder Hammond. The ball ricocheted back toward the goal and nearly into the net before the keeper came away with it.

    The seventh-seeded Spartans grabbed the momentum right back on their next possession, scoring an insurance goal to open the floodgates.

    "That’s was just depressing," Wolff said. "It was looking good, momentum going our way, and instead they get a counter attack.”

    Corvallis (10-4-1), which finished second in the Mid-Willamette, added two more goals over the next 20 minutes to earn its second win of the season over Ashland.

    The Spartans, who also beat Ashland 4-1 on Sept. 23, will face second-seeded Summit on Saturday.

    The game was the last high school match for 10 Ashland seniors: Taylor Buckley, Ginny Cotton, Tia Wilhelm, West, Elder Hammond, Tess Gibbs, Ivy Amann, Barritt Reynolds, Hannah Haptonstall and Sinead Pyle.

    Joe Zavala is a reporter for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach him at 541-821-0829 or Follow him on Twitter at @Joe_Zavala99.

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