Holding a 1-0 halftime lead against Stillman Valley, the Oregon girls soccer team faced a tough challenge.
The Cardinals would have the 20-MPH wind at their back and also have the confidence of knowing they had more shots-on-goal than the Hawks in the first half.
“I’m happy we’re up 1-0,” said Oregon coach Seger Larson during the break. “Stillman is controlling the ball. Our defense isn’t containing them. We’re stabbing at the ball.”
The bottom soon fell out for Oregon, with a barrage of five goals going in the net for Stillman compared to none for the Hawks. That barrage almost started with seconds left in the first half, as a SV shot went just wide of the net.
Oregon’s first-half score came early in the contest on a Katelyn Byerley goal. Olivia Lambrigtsen made a nice run and good pass to Byerley to set it up. Byerley, a senior, expertly slid the ball pass the Cardinals’ goalkeeper.
“That got us off to a great start, but I knew we needed more than that to stay with Stillman,” Larson said.
SV’s Georgia Ballard tied the game 1-1 at the 36-minute mark of the second half with an unassisted goal. She would also score eight minutes later after snaring a long pass for the 2-1 lead.
In between, Hannah Donaldson of Oregon had a chance with a long-range penalty kick that was straight on, but sailed above the net.
Jayda Reynolds, a sophomore like Ballard, made it 3-1 for SV with score from the center of the net at 19:40.
A minute later, a flurry of activity in front of the SV net, resulted in Oregon coming up empty-handed on the scoring opportunity.
“Oregon played with a lot of desire and heart,” SV coach Erin McMaster said. “It wasn’t a case of them being lucky in the first half to be ahead of us.”
Maddi Doss made a pretty half turn to score SV’s fourth goal with 16 minutes left in the game. Reynolds finished the scoring for the final margin of victory, 5-1.
“It helped having the wind at our back and getting our touches,” McMaster said.
In the first half, Katelin Pudlas made several stops at goal on SV scoring attempts, stepping out of the net area a couple times to squelch threats.
With 5:46 left in the half, Lambrigtsen had a breakaway chance, but couldn’t convert.
“They (SV) were too fast for us and possessed the ball better,” Larson said. “The way we were playing defense, there was a lack of hustle.”
Oregon is 2-2-1 on the year and Larson is pleased with some of the things he has seen so far.
“We are more physical than the last couple of years,” he said. “The girls want to win. One thing that needs improvement is communicating on the field.”