HILLSBORO – The loss of seven starters – including the state’s all-time leading scorer, Lindsey Antonson, and five others who received all-state honors – couldn’t keep Wilsonville from keeping its perch atop 5A girls soccer.
Coming off their first state title last season, the Wildcats retooled and added another championship Saturday by defeating Crescent Valley 2-1 in the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union 5A final at Hillsboro Stadium.
Junior Kenley Whittaker scored in the 10th minute and freshman Camryn Schaan made it 2-0 in the 60th minute for seventh-seeded Wilsonville (13-5-1), which held on to beat the No. 8 Raiders (11-4-3) after surrendering a goal in the 70th minute.
“For us to fill those gaps, that’s where the culture of this program runs deep,” Wildcats coach Alex Boehm said. “We had so many people step up this year, so many young kids, so many older kids who are veterans to the program, stepping into starting spots. What we did was amazing.”
Wilsonville reinvented itself after the graduation of Antonson, who scored 139 goals during her career. The Wildcats had 12 different goal scorers this season, including a team-high 23 from Whittaker.
Given the roster turnover, did the Wildcats believe they could repeat?
“Yes, absolutely,” Whittaker said. “Of course, we had a big loss, not just Lindsey but all those seniors. But I had faith in this team since the beginning that we could be something special. And look at us now. We turned out to be that something special.
“It took so much grit and passion from every single person.”
Wilsonville got a huge lift from Schaan, who joined the team early in the season after moving from Albany. She scored in all four playoff matches.
“I felt like I definitely needed to step up my game and score goals for the team,” Schaan said. “I have showed that throughout the playoffs. Before playoffs, I said I was going to score a goal every single game so we can win playoffs.”
After starting the season 2-5, Wilsonville went 11-0-1 to finish the year. The Wildcats won the Northwest Oregon Conference and knocked off No. 2 Thurston and No. 3 Summit in the playoffs.
“We played boot ball in the preseason, but we really figured out how to possess through the midfield,” Whittaker said. “And I think that’s a very key aspect to our game.”
The Wildcats embraced the underdog role in the postseason.
“No one expected us to win,” Schaan said. “No one expected us to beat Summit, and we did. We shoed them, we proved them wrong.”
Schaan’s second-half goal Saturday gave Wilsonville a much-needed two-goal cushion. Junior Ashlyn Ring passed a slow roller ahead to Schaan, who was able to poke the ball away from a defender and direct it past the goalkeeper into the net.
“Cam really filled that role at center forward,” Whittaker said. “She’s been everything we need her to be and more. She’s freed up the midfield so much. She can hold up the ball. She can do everything, really, dribble, pass, shoot. She has such good vision.”
Boehm called Schaan “incredible.”
“For such a young player to have kind of just like a winning mentality, and a competitor’s mentality that she has, it’s amazing,” Boehm said. “I’m so excited for her career. What she brought to our team was just a mentality that elevated all of us.”
Boehm marveled at how her team fought through the rough patches this season, including the early losses and the semifinal win over Summit in a blizzard.
“We never lost faith,” Boehm said. “We just knew that if we grinded and if we trusted each other and went with confidence the whole season, we would peak at the right time. And this was the right time.”
The title had Whittaker buzzing.
“It’s magical. Absolutely magical,” Whittaker said. “Last year’s team had a lot of really powerful seniors, including Lindsey. But this year we shaped ourselves up. We have plenty of juniors and seniors, and even freshmen, as you saw Camryn Schaan, step into those roles. It’s really great to be back here.”
It was a difficult defeat for Crescent Valley, which won titles in 2018 and 2019 and was hoping to make amends for a semifinal loss to Wilsonville last year. The Raiders got a goal from senior Abby Smith in the 70th minute but did not threaten to get the equalizer.
Crescent Valley senior midfielder Nicole Huang, the Mid-Willamette Conference player of the year, and sophomore defender Ella Romer were weakened by illness Saturday. And when senior defender Molly Campbell left the game early with an injury, the Raiders had to shuffle positions.
“We lost a lot of our vital players,” senior forward Greta Koegler said. “Some of us are still under the weather. But I think the fight was pretty crazy. A lot of people who don’t usually play positions came out and really battled.”