Girls soccer: Grant Generals looking for revenge against rival Lincoln Cardinals in state playoff game

The Grant Generals are looking forward to their upcoming game against the Lincoln Cardinals in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs.

The No. 7-seed Generals (9-4-2) are looking to defend their state title and become the first back-to-back state champs since Jesuit won three consecutive titles from 2017 to 2019.

The winner of Wednesday’s game moves through to the quarterfinals on Saturday. The loser goes home.

The Generals, who defeated Newberg 5-0 in a first round game, view the game as an opportunity to not only advance in the tournament, but also to get revenge. The Generals lost 2-1 to the No. 10-seed Cardinals to close out the regular season, preventing the Generals from capturing the outright title in the PIL.

“Everybody in the back of their minds are thinking a little bit about revenge.” Grant coach Manoli Tjuanakis said. “This game will be a little more meaningful. We’re looking forward to it.”

Senior goalkeeper Michaela McCollum is a key to the Generals’ chance to repeat. McCollum was injured and did not play when the Generals faced the Cardinals during the regular season. McCollum, who is committed to play soccer collegiately at Gonzaga, posted eight clean sheets during the season. The Generals gave up an own goal and Tjuanakis said the second goal should have been saved by a freshman keeper during the loss to Lincoln.

Tjuanakis said McCollum brings an extra level of stability and confidence to the defense.

“When the defensive lineup has somebody like Michaela behind them, they know they can count on her,” Tjuanakis said. “They play with more confidence.”

Defense was the Generals’ calling card throughout their run to the 2021 championship. They did not give up a goal until the championship game and Tjuanakis indicated the Generals will lean on their defense again.

“If you don’t give up any goals at least you can keep the game tied and hopefully your offense can score on the other end,” Tjuanakis said. “It’s a big deal to have a healthy defensive line – our line has played together for most of the year.”

Offensively, the Generals are led by senior midfielder Olivia Lukrofka, who has scored a team-leading 12 goals and added nine assists during the season. Lukrofka assisted on two of Grant’s goals against the Tigers and the Generals had five different players score in the game.

Tjuanakis said the Generals will also rely on the experience of winning the title last year. The coach said that will be an advantage in tight games.

“Last year, we had a couple of games where it came down to the last few minutes for us to score a goal to win the game. So they know that they can win the game as long as there is time of the clock,” Tjuanakis said. “They’re not going to give up until the game is actually over. They have experience and they know it can be done. That’s an advantage for us.”

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