By Robert Husseman • Sports Editor • 

Challengers upset Dayton girls soccer

Rockne Roll/News-Register##
Melina Alvarez (in white) is helped from the field after sustaining an injury in Wednesday s playoff match against Cascade Christian. Alvarez was not allowed to return as Dayton sustained a season-ending 1-0 defeat.
Rockne Roll/News-Register## Melina Alvarez (in white) is helped from the field after sustaining an injury in Wednesday's playoff match against Cascade Christian. Alvarez was not allowed to return as Dayton sustained a season-ending 1-0 defeat.

DAYTON -- Was Melina Alvarez wrongfully held out of No. 7-seeded Dayton girls soccer's Class 3A/2A/1A state playoff first-round game against No. 10 Cascade Christian?

Challengers midfielder Erika Worthington executed a hard slide tackle that caused Pirates midfielder Alvarez to slam to the Gubser Field turf in the 58th minute, necessitating medical attention. Dayton coach Pat Myer and a Cascade Christian fan who identified himself as an emergency medical technician administered a concussion test to Alvarez (she passed) and attended to cuts on her right knee and elbow. When Myer attempted to re-enter Alvarez into the game, the side official would not permit her to return.

Alvarez's absence left Dayton without one of its top offensive players for the remainder of a hotly contested playoff match. Whatever it may have meant, Worthington beat Pirates defender Kaylie Holland and goalkeeper Adriana Garcia on a 78th-minute goal, the only one of the match in a 1-0 victory for the visiting school from Medford.

Cascade Christian (9-6) brought just 11 players to Gubser Field and briefly played with 10 when freshman midfielder Emily Stephens left the field two separate times with injuries. (Stephens returned both times). Dayton (10-1-3) was already without junior defender Julia Bateman, sidelined with a concussion.

The Pirates largely controlled possession and held a 17-8 shot advantage for the game but struggled with finishing runs and touches in the midfield. Dayton's best scoring opportunity came in the 35th minute, as Alvarez lined up a corner kick that Teresa Avalos successfully tracked down. Avalos' header went wide right. 

Three minutes later, Pirates midfielder Nancy Arroyo advanced the ball before her knee contacted Stephens' head, resulting in a yellow card, the only booking of the match. 

Myer said he would not appeal the referee's decision to withhold Alvarez from play to the Oregon School Activities Association.

"Any athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion following an observed or suspected blow to the head or body, or who has been diagnosed with a concussion, shall not be permitted to return to that athletic contest or practice, or any other athletic contest or practice on that same day," the OSAA handbook for 2015-16 reads. "In schools which have the services of an athletic trainer registered by the Oregon Board of Athletic Trainers, that athletic trainer may determine that an athlete has not exhibited signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion, and has not suffered a concussion, and return the athlete to play." Dayton did not have an athletic trainer present for the match.

"An official shall remove a player from a contest when that player exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion due to an observed or suspected blow to the head or body," the handbook continues. "The official shall document and notify the head coach or his/her designee making sure that the head coach or designee understands that the player is being removed for exhibiting signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion as opposed to behavior, a non-concussive injury or other reasons.  The official is not responsible for evaluation or management of the player after he/she is removed from play. "

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