Shanae Coker gave up at least six inches to defender Jane Sumner as the ball was put in play Monday during the second half of the U-19 girls championship game.
But what Coker lacked in size in the matchup against the lanky defender, she made up for with determination as the South Medford High senior-to-be won position and headed in what proved to be the winning goal for the Rogue Valley Soccer Club FCSO squad.
Coker's header off a high-arching corner kick from Chelsie O'Neill in about the 60th minute gave the RVSC team a 2-1 victory over the Grants Pass Arsenal in the title contest of the U-19 girls division at the 14th annual Rogue Valley Cup at North Medford High.
Coker, who was named the game's most valuable player, made the play eight minutes after Grants Pass had knotted the score at 1-all.
"It was just an adrenaline rush," said Coker of the go-ahead score. "I was looking to hit the ball. She's a lot taller than I am, so I was trying to get inside of her."
The victory was the first for the RVSC team under coach Gary Osterhage, who received a ceremonial dousing from the water cooler after the game.
United is a team made up of current and former players from North Medford, South Medford, St. Mary's, Crater, Ashland and North Valley.
Osterhage, the director of coaches for the RVSC, took over the group just this year.
"These girls play hard and train hard," said Osterhage. "The girls battled and didn't give up."
Irene Kendig put RVSC FCSO United on top 1-0 midway through the first half when she converted a cross pass inside the box from O'Neill.
Grants Pass tied the game in the 52nd minute. Megan Franko sent a direct kick to the corner of the RVSC goal. A header attempt was thwarted but a United player batted the ball in goal while trying to help defend.
Coker sealed the win 12 minutes later.
"Everyone contributed," said Osterhage, "and our captains (Caitlin Engle and Ashley Chambers) were tremendous.
"This is such a great thing for these girls."
In other Rogue Valley Cup action:
The Tigard Strikers rallied to tie late in regulation then pulled out a 2-1 victory in a shootout over the Phoenix Outkast in the U-19 boys premier division final.
The Tigard goal — the first given up by Phoenix in the Cup — came from Roland Mason with about 30 seconds left in regulation.
The Strikers held a 3-2 edge in the shootout behind three diving saves from goalkeeper Quinn Hess.
Hess, a sophomore at Sherwood High, knocked away the final attempt by Phoenix, and Tigard converted its last shot to secure the victory.
"He's the youngest guy on our team," said Tigard coach Hope Glenn of Hess. "Those guys were shooting pretty fast, but I had full confidence in him."
Glenn has taken teams to the Rogue Valley Cup for the last 15 years, winning one championship with a U-11 team.
Players from this year's Strikers' squad dedicated the win to coach Glenn's son, Lukus, who died seven months ago at age 18.
"They played for him," said Hope Glenn. "It's such a great group of boys and parents. They've all been very supportive."
The Outkast's Dominique Agnimel scored the game's initial goal in the second minute of the contest.
Phoenix had a handful of opportunities to stretch the lead throughout regulation but couldn't find the net.
"It's a tough loss," said Phoenix coach Tom Wimmer. "Anything can happen when you get to a shootout, and dangit, if we coulda just got one more (goal).
"But we have everyone coming back next year. So we'll be back."
U-10 —Championship, Dynamite 6, Falcons 1; Third place, Tahoe Black Ice 2, RVSC Alliance 1.
U-11 — Championship, Quicksilver 1, RVSC Power Strikers 0.
U-12 — Championship, Tracy Revolution 2, RVSC Tigers 1; Third place, Storm 2, Tahoe Ice 1.
U-13 — Championship, Placer Prestige 4, Carson Madness 0; Third place, Net Rippers 5, Lighting 1.
U-14 Classic — Championship, ASC Picante defeated Phoenix Sting, no score reported; Third place, RVSC Riot 5, Avalanche 4.
U-14 Premier — Championship, RVSC Crushers 6, Grants Pass Nitro 5.
U-16 — Championship, Oregon Rush 1, Destiny 0; Third place, Arsenal 2, Grants Pass United 0.
U-17 — Championship, South Shore United 2, FCSO United 0.
U-19 — Championship, FCSO United 2, Grants Pass Arsenal 1; Third place, RVSC Oh Yeah! 3, Missfits 1.
U-10 — Championship, Trojans 2, Steelheaders 0.
U-11 — Championship, Eagles United 1, Steelhead 0; Third place, Tahoe United 3, Atomics 1.
U-12 — Championship, RVSC Los Pumas 3, Corona United 2; Third place, Raptors 6, Earthquakes 4.
U-13 — Championship, Vipers 1, RVSC Fuego 0; Third place, Arsenal 4, Carson Patriots 2.
U-14 Classic — Championship, Force defeated RVSC Twisters, no score reported; Third place, America 4, Fuego 2.
U-14 Premier — Championship, SC Alliance 3, RSUSC Santos 2.
U-15 — Championship, Revolution 2, OSA Renegades 1.
U-16 — Championship, Deportivo 2, ASC Iguanas 0; Third place, Predators 2, RVSC Galaxy 1.
U-19 Classic — Championship, Tahoe Ice defeated FCSO United, no score reported.
U-19 Premier — Championship, Tigard Strikers 2, Phoenix Outkast 1, 3-2 shootout; Third place, Mad River United 5, RVSC United 2.
Reach reporter Kevin Goff at 776-4483, or e-mail email@example.com