Monday, July 8, 2013

WPSL NW Recap - Week 6: Playoff field set; AC Seattle wins Evergreen Cup derby

AC Seattle celebrates after clinching Evergreen Cup and playoff spot Friday night | Photo: Wilson Tsoi / goalWA
With the Tualatin Hills United SC Diamonds coming into the final week of the regular season as the only team to have clinched a playoff spot, Week Six was all about the three teams in Seattle chasing the two Washington berths while Eugene Metro Azul and Westside Timbers battled for the remaining slot from Oregon. Meanwhile, the Evergreen Cup was also on the line for bragging rights in Washington.

With three games in four days, AC Seattle's results in the the first three contests of the week would have a great impact on how things played out as they would visit Oregon playoff hopeful Westside and square off against Emerald City in a game that could decide the Evergreen Cup.

Final Evergreen Cup standings
In the end, winning two of three was enough for the first-year side as AC Seattle clinched the derby competition and a playoff spot (based on three-way tiebreaker) with the win Friday evening on the road against Emerald City, who were unable to find a win in their finale to advance by the same tiebreaker, allowing Issaquah to move onto the postseason with the draw between the two. Seattle's win at Westside left too big of a hole for the Timbers to make up as their road draw allowed host Eugene to join THUSC in the playoffs.

Jen Stoltenberg had another big week, but her odds of finishing as the leading goal scorer were diminished midweek with AC Seattle's Romina Pinna pulling even. The THUSC striker, however, pulled away once more Sunday and has one more game Tuesday to add even more… if she even plays with the postseason on the horizon.


AC Seattle 2 :: 4 THUSC Diamonds

The division-leading scorer put the Diamonds up less than 30 seconds into the contest but the Italian crew roared back with a pair of goals from Jillian Nicks and Viviana Schiavi in the 21st and 37th minutes. They were unable to take the lead into the intermission though as Stoltenberg put things level a minute later and found Shanna Lechelt in the 42nd for what proved to be the winner. Brandi Dawson, who set up the opener scored the only tally of the second half.

Scoring Summary
THU: Jen Stoltenberg (Brandi Dawson) 1
AC: Jillian Nicks (Alia Guagni) 21
AC: Viviana Schiavi (Alessandra Barreca) 37
THU: Jen Stoltenberg (Hannah Kimsey) 38
THU: Shanna Lechelt (Jen Stoltenberg) 42
THU: Brandi Dawson (Hannah Kimsey) 70


AC Seattle 4 :: 1 Westside Timbers 

For the second time in as many nights, AC Seattle found themselves trailing in Oregon when Kelsey Moe connected with Whitney Pitalo for the opening goal 32 minutes in for Westside. Romina Pinna, however, was determined not to suffer another loss, scoring three times in the second half. She tied matters up on the hour mark and put the Italians in front 10 minutes later. Arica Slawson scored another two minutes later with Pinna completing the hat-trick with seven minutes remaining, pulling even with THUSC's Jen Stoltenberg on the goal scoring table with nine on the season. The loss left the Timbers on the verge of elimination as their upcoming opponent, Eugene, needed only one point to clinch the second Oregon playoff spot.

Scoring Summary
WES: Whitney Pitalo (Kelsey Moe) 32
SEA: Romina Pinna (Alia Guagni) 60
SEA: Romina Pinna (Alessandra Barreca) 70
SEA: Arica Slawson (Viviana Schiavi) 72
SEA: Romina Pinna (Veronica Sotgiu) 83

Slawson double was the difference | Wilson Tsoi / goalWA 
FRIDAY, July 5

AC Seattle 2 :: 1 Emerald City 

With the head-to-head advantage against SRR Issaquah, AC Seattle could wrap up the Evergreen Cup derby competition with a road victory in nearby Shoreline against Emerald City. It was by no means easy though they jumped out to a two-goal advantage in the first half. Jillian Nicks set up Arica Slawson twice. The first came 22 minutes in as the Tacoma native put a bouncing ball past Liz Ruiz from about 10 yards out and the second was a one-time effort from about 14 yards off a low cross from Nicks, who had driven down the right flank. The hosts fought back in the second half and pulled within one in the 71st minute when a corner kick from Erin Craig was knocked out of the box, but the striker recollected the ball at the outside left corner of the area and drove about five yards along the top of the box before unleashing a floater over Ilaria Leoni that slipped in under the crossbar. It was not enough, however, as the Emerald City were either denied by Leoni or the woodwork. Report from goalWA [+]

Scoring Summary
SEA: Arica Slawson (Jillian Nicks) 22
SEA: Arica Slawson (Jillian Nicks) 42
EC: Erin Craig 71

Photo: NW Sports Pics

Westside Timbers 2 :: 2 Eugene Metro Azul

Needing a victory to split the season series (not to mention help from THUSC the next day), Westside took what looked like a commanding lead into the break. With a new-found passion in the first half the Timbers took the lead on a cross from Erin Huisingh from the right side that found Annie Jonsson for the finish on the back post just four minutes into the contest. Then 17-year-old phenom Madison Misi struck on a laser from 30 yards six minutes before the break. Westside controlled the half and almost scored late when Whitney Pitalo had a chance, but missed the ball. That miss would come back to haunt Westside.

Nine mins into the second half Eugene's Marisa Specht sent a cross from right side that was finished in the box by Taylor Housely as Westside got caught ball watching.   With 10 minutes left in the game Taylor Boyer struck for the tying goal and the lone point Eugene needed to make the playoffs.

"Westside had a good season with an extremely young squad, and the lack of maturity may have been their down fall," said Westside Timbers coach Stan Rodrigues. "Nevertheless, they were in every game most of the season."

Scoring Summary
WES: Annie Jonsson (Erin Huisingh) 4
WES: Madison Misi 39
EUG: Taylor Housely (Marisa Specht) 54
EUG: Taylor Boyer (Jaclyn Silsby) 80

Photo: NW Sports Pics
SUNDAY, July 7

THUSC Diamonds 4 :: 1 Eugene Metro Azul 

It was a good thing they had clinched the postseason the night before because the Oregon-leading THUSC side was just too much for Eugene. Jen Stoltenberg reclaimed sole possession as the top scorer in the Northwest in quick fashion, scoring five minutes into the contest. She added a second in the 23rd minute to make it a two-goal margin at the break. Caitlyn Jobanek scored nine minutes into the second half, but it was the Diamonds who continued the scoring with a pair of goals from Madison Hairston, putting he club within a point of SRR Issaquah at the top of the table with their final game against Bend coming up on Tuesday.

Scoring Summary
THU: Jen Stoltenberg 5
THU: Jen Stoltenberg 23
EUG: Caitlyn Jobanek 54
THU: Madison Hairston 65
THU: Madison Hairston 76

SRR Issaquah 1 :: 1 Emerald City 

In a head-to-head showdown for the other Washington playoff berth, host Emerald City dominated play for the first 40 minutes knowing they needed a victory to keep their season going. A counterattack, however, in the 41st minute, was finished off by Jaclyn Softli, who deftly touched the ball past the onrushing Liz Ruiz. Megan Chapin made things even once again in the 74th, converting from the penalty spot after a controversial handball call, while other Emerald City chances went wanting, including one off the woodwork for the second time on the weekend. Emerald City needed the win to force a three-way tie between the trio of Seattle clubs in a scenario that would have put them through based on the head-to-head results between only the three clubs.  Report from goalWA [+]

Scoring Summary
ISS: Jaclyn Softli 41
EC: Megan Chapin (pen) 74

One last game… with regular season title on the line

THUSC Diamonds @ Bend Timbers


SEMIFINALS - Saturday, July 13
(WA-1) SRR Issaquah SC vs Eugene Metro Azul (OR-2) 
Delridge Playfield - 5:30
(WA-2) AC Seattle vs THUSC Diamonds (OR-1) - 3:00 
Cedarcrest High School - 6:00

NORTHWEST FINAL - Sunday, July 14

Cedarcrest High School - 6:00