Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Girls soccer opens league with big win

Broncos unable to slow down Sandys multiple offensive weapons


by: KRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Sandy forward Molly Nutt, left, feeds a pass to junior forward Zoe Higgins. Higgins finished with a goal and multiple shots in last Thursdays 5-0 win over the Broncos at Sandy High School.

Meghan Luebbert thought, why not?

There were no defenders around as she corralled the ball from about 30 yards away from the goal. So she took the shot.

It sailed high toward the net, and the keeper backed up as she measured the trajectory. She stood on the goal line and jumped. But in that little space between her hands and the crossbar, Luebbert’s shot sneaked through.

It was that kind of game for the Sandy girls soccer team, a game where everything went right.

The Pioneers opened Northwest Oregon Conference play with a 5-0 win over Parkrose last Thursday at Sandy High School.

They controlled the pace of the game and showcased their ability to work the ball between the forwards, midfielders and defense. It was a tactic the Broncos couldn’t defend.

“We have definitely been working on combining in the middle and working the offense all the way back to the defense by passing through the middle,” said Luebbert, who scored twice in the win. “That looks so good because it’s almost all we’ve been working on.”

Thursday looked like a game of keep away at times. Sandy kept the ball in the Broncos’ territory through much of the match and moved it around seamlessly before bombarding the Parkrose net with shots.

The Broncos’ defensive solution was to stack five or six players in the box and hope that was too many to allow a shot to sneak through.

by: KRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Haley Kern pushes the ball up the field.

For a while it was, but inevitably the Pioneers broke through.

It started when Sandy worked the ball up field to freshman Haley Kern, whose shot deflected off a defender and right to Rachel Rutledge. From the top of the penalty box, Rutledge scored, which gave Sandy a 1-0 lead with 22 minutes remaining in the first half.

“We did score on several opportunities where we strung eight to 10 passes together,” Pioneers coach Nick Kern said. “That’s really going to be where our success now and against the tougher team will come from.”

Scoring chances even came from the defense.

Defenseman Ella Templin pushed the ball up field and from near the sideline and sent a cross into the box.

The ball split through the defense and landed squarely on the knee of Courtney Laughlin, who redirected the pass into the net, giving Sandy a 2-0 just before halftime.

In the second half, forward Zoe Higgins, who had been a constant scoring threat, finally got on the board after a shot defelected off the Parkrose keeper, then the post and into the net, for a 3-0 lead.

“(Higgins) is combining really well with the midfield, and that’s allowing us to do a lot of things that we’re doing,” Nick Kern said.

Thursday was just the kind of performance Nick was hoping to see from his team as it started league play.

They played with unity and precision, and as Luebbert proved, they weren’t afraid of taking a few risks.

It was a night to especially showcase the midfield, which Nick believes will be critical in a difficult conference.

“Our midfield won tons of balls,” Nick said. “They were very controlled. They kept the ball and looked to distribute.

“When we play some of the other teams, the tactics will be similar to what we’re playing. Our midfielders will be key to us surviving.”

Sports reporter Kristopher Anderson can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.