Buffs girls soccer find way to win

Two goals from Mariah Stacona hold up

by: Bily Gates/The Pioneer - Madras sophomore Mariah Stacona blows past a Lakeview defender on her way to the goal during the Buffs’ 2-1 victory against the Honkers on Saturday in Madras. Stacona started the match as the Buffs’ goalkeeper, then was moved to forward, where she scored both goals.

After the Lakeview Honkers scored the match's first goal, Madras girls soccer coach Mike Osborne made a switch that would eventually enable his Buffs to win.
   He put the starting goalkeeper in at forward.
   Sophomore Mariah Stacona swapped a keeper's jersey for a field shirt and immediately made an impact with two goals two minutes apart from each other in a 2-1 win for the Buffs on Saturday at Madras High School.
   The Honkers struck first in the 54th minute, 14 minutes into the second half in high school soccer, that beat Stacona to her right side, prompting Osborne to make the switch since she is also one of the team's best field players as well as goalkeeper.
   "She's such a versatile player," Osborne said. "I was hoping we could have pulled her out of goal with a lead, but that didn't happen. She's a solid kid."
   Stacona gave the Buffs the lead for good after her second goal of the day came on a well-placed shot from about 25 yards out. She gathered it off a deflection, and as it fell to her right foot, she hit it with the slightest bit of loft so that it cleared the outstretched arms of Lakeview's keeper, yet was precise enough it slid under the crossbar with ease.
   A minute before her game-winner, Stacona hit the equalizing goal from the top of the 18-yard box after she worked around a pair of defenders. This one was hit with more pace and on a straight line that beat the keeper low and to her right side.
   The second half, in general, was a much better half for the Madras attack. The first half the Buffs never could get any momentum forward and played most of the half in the midfield. Lakeview had similar problems, but were able to get a shot on Stacona inside the opening 15 minutes, but she sprawled to her left and covered the shot to keep the match scoreless.
   "At halftime, we talked about what we should be doing with the ball," Osborne said. "We got into the habit of just kicking the ball, and we know that's not good soccer. We moved the ball better and were more aggressive in the second half."
   Josie Hunt had a pair of golden chances to give the Buffs a bigger lead, but was just unlucky and came up empty both times. Her header off a corner kick in the 68th minute flashed over the top of the crossbar, then four minutes later she gathered a pass from Stacona and sent a shot that bounced off the post.
   Alicia Farias followed up Hunt's woodwork special with a shot that was barely on the wrong side of the same post Hunt smacked moments earlier.
   Madras also missed two chances on penalty kicks in the match, both coming after Lakeview was called for a hand ball in the 18-yard penalty area.
   Stacona's free shot in the 76th minute went straight to the Lakeview goalkeeper and Ana Alvarado's shot missed the frame in the seventh minute.
   With the team's second win of the season, they have already eclipsed last season's win total. The lone win in 2011 came against Crook County, but they won't get to celebrate it for long.
   Madras is back in Tri-Valley Conference play against the defending league champs, Gladstone, on Tuesday. The match result came after the Pioneer's press deadline, but after Saturday's match, Osborne said his team would have to play its best to get a win.
   "Defensively, we can't break down. We need to understand when to just work on field position," Osborne said.
   All season, Osborne said his team needs to work knowing when to try to play the ball and advance it upfield, or rather just kick it out of bounds and have a chance to reset the defensive alignment and get ready.
   "When we can put together pieces like that, since we're probably going to be outskilled by such a great team like Gladstone, I think we can be successful if we can do a lot of that," he said
   Last Thursday, the Buffs opened Tri-Valley Conference play on the road in Estacada. They lost, 2-0.