Team clobbers Madison, but lets TDW come back for a tie late in match

by: JOHN BREWINGTON - Freshman Ashley Giesbers controls the ball against Grace Heyler of The Dalles-Wahtonka during last week’s match. Giesbers had two goals against Madison in their first match.
St. Helens took a commanding lead in their second soccer match of the season, only to see The Dalles-Wahtonka come back to knot the score with less than three minutes remaining.

The Lady Lions dominated the match, but wilted a bit in the second half in the 85 degree heat.

Chelsee Rennie put the Lady Lions on top with a goal from 25 yards out, 20 minutes into the match. TDW would respond five minutes later, but it didn’t last long. Brie Maye dropped another long range bomb in from outside the box to put St. Helens up again. Stevie Strawn would score just before the half to make it a 3-1 St. Helens lead.

“Our starting line-up was unchanged from Tuesday’s mauling at Madison,” Coach Simon Date said. Seniors Alex Vaughn and Tori Bair did well to cope (in the heat), along with Sydney Nett adding pace in the back. Senior goalkeeper captain Dana Sukau was called into action a few times and did well.”

Date added, “The area where it wasn’t working was midfield. I was frustrated at how the three in the middle were playing in relation to the heat. We were running too much with the ball and not passing enough, meaning we got tired very quickly, and had to make subs a lot sooner than I would expect to in a game. Stevie Strawn was probably our most effective player first half, and was really pleased how smart she played on the right wing. That looked to be our most offensive threat.”

Date said the team talked at the half about playing smart in the heat. He noted that TDW was doing a good job of pulling St. Helens around the field and letting the ball do the work.

“We were getting tired chasing when I wanted them to hold their shape. We talked about staying in the game mentally, and playing smart, saving energy,” he added.

St. Helens stuck to the game plan for the first 25 minutes of the half, but then TDW got a goal off a corner kick to get back in the game.

Date made some changes, putting in some fresh legs and freshmen that weren’t used to losing. The strategy was working, but a penalty call near the goal allowed a penalty kick that tie the score.

The Lady Lions did have a shot from the corner with 30 second left, but Regan Duarte pushed it too far over.

“I’m encouraged and disappointed by the result for two separate reasons. Disappointed because we threw away a game that we had no business tying. At 3-1 up we have to finish off opponents,” Date said. “The encouraging part though was the reaction in the huddle after the game. We had anger, some tears, and an abundance of frustration. It was good for me to see the change mentally in these young women from last season. A point was a victory based last season, and something to be celebrated, but this year they’re different. They’re hungrier for success, and they’ve set the bar higher for themselves to be satisfied with one point instead of three. I like that the most. I’ve got practice now with 16 very angry and frustrated players. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The team had very little trouble in their season opener at Madison, posting an easy 7-0 “mauling” as Date called it. Scoring for the Lady Lions were freshmen Lydia Reardon (the first goal of the season), freshman Ashley Giesbers, seniors Maye, Rennie, Regan Duarte, Rennie again, and Giesbers again.

St. Helens travelled to Lebanon on Tuesday this week and hosts South Albany this coming Monday. Wednesday they travel all the way to Hermiston.

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