PORTLAND – It took seven years, but Grant finally has returned to the top of Portland Interscholastic League girls soccer.
With the league title on the line Friday in the regular-season finale at Grant Bowl, the fourth-ranked Generals got first-half goals from seniors Minami Powers and Caprial Loescher to beat No. 10 Lincoln 2-0.
Grant (12-1-1, 5-0-1) captured its first PIL title since 2014 by overtaking the Cardinals (9-4-1, 5-1), who finished on top of the league in the spring. The Generals had not beaten Lincoln since 2016, going 0-3-1 against the Cardinals in the last four seasons.
“You always like to beat Lincoln,” Grant coach Manolis Tjuanakis said. “We were definitely ready to play because we knew the only result that would get us there was a win. We had very good training yesterday, and our girls were very focused.”
Powers got Grant on the board by striking a shot off a set piece from roughly 35 yards out. About 10 minutes later, Loescher took a pass from senior Liv Frazier and converted from 25 yards to make it 2-0.
With Lincoln heavily marking Grant senior forward Elle Frazier, who has scored 24 goals this season, the Generals had to go elsewhere to find some offense.
“Elle is definitely now someone to be watched by other teams,” Tjuanakis said. “She was shadowed the entire time. That's difficult because when you get the ball on your feet, you have people on you right away. We talked about how other people have to step up and score, and thankfully, a couple of them did.”
Senior Abby Winkler and junior Michaela McCollum shared time in goal to earn the shutout for Grant. Winkler played the first half, turning away three corner kicks, and McCollum played a relatively uneventful second half.
The Generals got some payback for a 3-2 loss to Lincoln in the spring that ultimately decided the league title.
“This group remembered that, and they definitely wanted to come back and take their revenge, and finish on a positive note for the seniors,” Tjuanakis said.
Grant's defense, led by center backs Powers and sophomore Maggie McGair, kept Lincoln in check. The Generals have yielded only six goals this season, ranked second in 6A behind Lake Oswego's three.
“They've done a fantastic job to keep things clean and not make too many mistakes,” Tjuanakis said of Powers and McGair.
Grant, which entered the game No. 4 in the OSAA 6A power rankings, is in position to get at least two home playoff games.
“I think we're looking good,” Tjuanakis said of his team's postseason chances. “We're healthy as can be. I think this win will give the girls kind of a boost going into the playoffs.”