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Sohl, Fuego girls win State Cup title

For the first time in seven years, a club team from the Rogue Valley has claimed the State Cup.

The Southern Oregon Fuego, a U18 girls premier team, rolled to a 3-1 victory over the Lake Oswego Soccer Club Saturday in the championship game of the prestigious tournament at the Tualatin Hills Recreation Center in Beaverton.

Crater’s Andi Bagdan, North Medford’s Caitlin Kelly and Ashland’s Hanna Sohl scored one goal apiece for the Fuego, which earned a trip to the Far West Regionals June 19-25 in Boise, Idaho.

“The core group of this team has been with me for four years,” Fuego head coach Jorge Yant said. “It’s a real cohesive group that gets along on and off the field.

“We don’t have a bunch of superstars, just a bunch of kids who play well together.”

The Fuego, also known as RVSC Chaos, lost to Lake Oswego 2-0 four weeks ago, but turned the tables Saturday by making adjustments in its lineup and formation.

“We moved some girls around and used a formation that allowed us to contain the middle better defensively and work the outside on our offensive attack,” Yant explained. “And the girls just played better. They really stepped up.”

Yant credited goalkeeper Megan Ross from North Medford with several critical stops. He also praised stopper Alicia Stromberg of North Medford, sweeper McKenzie Hedges of Ashland and center midfielder Alex Batzer of North Medford.

“Alex is our quiet hero,” Yant said of Batzer.

“You don’t get a lot of noise or flash from her, but she’s relentless and always in the right place. She

really holds the center of the

field.”

The Fuego led just 1-0 at halftime, but Kelly, the Fuego’s other stopper, used her powerful leg to power home a goal from 25 yards out 20 minutes into the second half to make it 2-0. Sohl connected just a short while later for a 3-0 Fuego lead.

Lake Oswego scored late to avoid a shutout.

“We went into a containment mode once we got ahead 3-0,” said Yant, who is coaching the team with Iman Siadat.

The Fuego defeated FC Portland 2-1 in the semifinals to earn a shot at Lake Oswego in the championship match.