SPRINGFIELD – The Thurston Colts girls soccer team fell in the quarterfinals of the 5A state playoffs 1-0 to the defending champion Wilsonville Wildcats on Saturday. While the No. 2 Colts won their first-round game against No. 15 Mountain View in a convincing 4-0 fashion, the No. 7 Wildcats outlasted the Colts to advance to the semifinals.
“The team did very well this year,” said Benton Canaga, Thurston head coach. “They played through some tough challenges, but kept their heads up and kept working and it brought the team closer together.”
In the first round last Wednesday against Mountain View, the Colts rolled thanks to a brace by Yocelin Florido and goals by Rainey Simmons and Abby Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick was voted the player of the year in the Midwestern League this season.
“We’re a team that has out-worked, or out-conditioned almost all of our opponents this season. And there’s a reason for that,” Canaga said after the Mountain View game.
The Colts returned to Hamlin on Saturday to host Wilsonville, with the winner advancing to the semifinals. Disaster struck early, however, as a turnover allowed Wilsonville’s Camryn Schaan to give the Wildcats the lead in the 25th minute.
The score held into half, but in the second half Thurston dominated the possession and had multiple goal-scoring opportunities. None would find the back of the net, however, and the Colts’ season came to a close.
“(We) outplayed Wilsonville, but just couldn’t get the shots to fall. That’s soccer,” said Canaga.
A season that saw the Colts go 13-2, with a perfect 6-0 record in league, ended on a bitter note. Canaga said that the losing hurts, but the pride in his team didn’t go anywhere.
“You want to make it to the playoffs. Then just play your heart out. Our girls did just that,” he said. “But more importantly than just winning and losing, the girls learned sacrifice. They learned how to be a family by being there for each of their teammates and they learned resilience by working hard every day when it wasn’t easy, and we made them work hard. Those things will follow them forever.”