Submitted by FC Olympia

The Artesians made the 750 mile trek to Pioneer Stadium to open the USL W League national tournament against undefeated, Northern California’s Oakland Soul. The Soul are a women’s USL franchise under the professional soccer team Oakland Roots who are in the USL Championship league that parallels Major League Soccer (MLS) and owned by former Seattle Seahawk Marshawn Lynch.

Oakland was awarded the western conference host city playoff bid which made #1 seed, undefeated FC Olympia travel to California to compete in its second national playoff appearance since their USL W franchise formed in 2022.  The Artesians come into the national tournament with a 9-0-1 regular season record.

The Artesians started a group of 8 core players that had significant minutes during the regular season however adding a few newcomers into the lineup including University of Portland athletes defender Katana Norman and goalkeeper Bre Norris. Norris would come up big playing all 120 minutes of regulation and overtime on the night and kept the Oakland Soul at bay all night.

McKenna Martinez (Oregon State University) was the first to draw blood on a 40 yard run from the half line into the penalty box dribbling by Oakland defenders where she slotted a low far post shot to get the Artesians on the board 1-0 in the 58th minute.

Oakland did not waste any time evening it up 1-1 on a scramble in the penalty box just minutes after the Artesians first goal. The crowd was boisterous and loud at Pioneer Stadium in Hayward, CA, a suburb town of Oakland. where ticket prices reached $89 per ticket for sideline seats to the USL W League playoff match.

The match would head to the first half of overtime where the Artesians were relentless in the attacking for much of the half and an own goal was scored off of a corner kick from Oakland and the Artesians would take the late lead 2-1.

The game was settled after the Soul were stifled by Artesian goalkeeper Bre Norris on a two breakaway encounters in overtime that saw athletic foot saves that sent the ball deflecting wide and another double shot attempt that found an outstretch dive from Norris to catch the ball safely at full length towards the post.

The final whistle blew in the 120th minute with injury time and FC Olympia held on to win 2-1 and advance to the West Coast Final (USL National Playoff Quarterfinal). The game is slated to be in Davis, CA on Sunday July 7th but heat advisory weather is forcing the USL W to list the game as TBD. Early weather reports are saying it will be 103 degrees in Davis, CA.

The match is expected to be played no matter what in the Bay Area Sunday July 7th and information will be provided on time and location including streaming details.

The postseason win is the first in the Artesians history having lost last year against Cal Storm in Davis, CA 1-0 in 2022. Cal Storm did not survive its first round playoff game on Friday as they were downed by Colorado Storm who will now take on the Artesians in the West Coast Finals.

Winner of the Sunday July 7th Final will then travel to a USL W Semifinal on July 13. Location and details on next weekend’s Semifinal is to be determined.

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