High School Soccer

Suns advance to quarterfinals

It took Paige Sorensen 10 games this season before her name got etched into the scoring column, tallying two goals in Southridge's 7-0 home win over Pasco on Oct. 5.

Since then, teams haven't been able to keep the Suns senior midfielder out of it.

Sorensen added two more during a 2-0 win over Hanford on Tuesday in Kennewick, giving her 13 in the Suns' last 10 games. More important, her contribution helped the Southridge girls soccer team earned its first victory in a state tournament game.

The Suns lost a first-round match in their only other state appearance in 2007.

"It means a lot to us," Sorensen said. "We wanted a regional championship (the Suns lost 3-2 to Mt. Spokane on Saturday), but the important thing is to win at state."

The Suns (15-4) will travel to Federal Way to play Decatur (12-5-1) -- a 2-0 winner at Mt. Spokane -- at 6 p.m. Saturday in the 3A state quarterfinals for a chance to advance to the Final Four in Lakewood.

Southridge coach Riley Dodson said he is eager to see how Decatur will deal with CBBN 3A co-Player of the Year Heather Johnson, who scored 25 goals and added 14 assists this season -- including one Tuesday.

But the Gators would be well advised to keep an eye on Sorensen as well.

"I told Paige she was going to get some scoring opportunities," said Dodson, who played Sorensen up top with Johnson at forward. With Johnson drawing the lion's share of attention from Hanford's defense, that left Sorensen open for several opportunities right off the bat.

"They're more than just Heather Johnson. They have four or five top-quality players," said Falcons coach Mart Oostrom, who led Hanford to a share of its first league title and its first state appearance since 2005.

Sorensen got busy right away, making a run to the left post inside the first two minutes before Johnson delivered a pass in stride. Sorensen's shot beat goalkeeper Emily Busselman for a 1-0 lead.

"That's what happened the last time, and it shook us up," said Hanford defender Kie Johnson, who shared Player of the Year honors with the Suns' star forward. "It's been a good season. It sucks to go out, but it feels good to make it this far."

Sorensen added a second goal in the 19th minute, curling a ball from 20 yards out at the far left corner past Busselman and inside the far post to give Southridge a 2-0 lead.

"That was supposed to be a cross, but it curved right in," Sorensen said of the difficult angle.

Hanford moved defenders Kie Johnson and Cari Exarhos up front to open the second half to try generating some offense, and it worked. The Falcons got several chances inside the first 10 minutes of the second half, including a pair of chances from Johnson.

Hanford's best chance came in the 44th minute, when Kie Johnson got a step on her defender and let fly with a shot from the top corner of the Suns' box. The ball was headed for the upper corner of the frame before Southridge keeper Ingrid Stein tipped it off the crossbar.

Dodson credited Suns defenders Randi Andreatta, Megan Sanders, Erin Wallace and Meghan Sorensen -- Paige's twin sister -- with keeping their poise in a tough match.

According to Meghan, it was a matter of playoff survival.

"We're closer than we've ever been," she said of her team. "I just didn't want my senior year to end."