The Kingsmen battle to a scoreless standoff with the 2012 state finalists

Rex Putnam coeds turned a few heads in last week’s Northwest Oregon Conference opener with Sherwood, battling to a scoreless tie with the Bowgirls in overtime.

The result was a surprise to many, because Sherwood entered the contest ranked No. 1 in the state, while Putnam was ranked 25th. And the Bowgirls were state finalists in 2012.

It was the first time the Bowgirls (5-1-2, 0-0-1) had been shut out this season.

“I wouldn’t say I was too surprised,” said Putnam coach Alex Ponce. “Based on our girls training [in preparation for the game] and their understanding of what we were trying to do, I had confidence in what they could do.”

Ponce said that, in preparation for taking on the Bowgirls, his strategy was to work on keeping defensive players behind the ball, double teaming, and counterattacking.

“The girls executed very well,” he said. “Bella [Putnam goalkeeper Bella Geist] was tested only three or four times. Most of their shots were taken from 30 or 40 yards out, and I’m very confident in Bella’s ability to make stops at that range.”

Putnam nearly gained an upset. In the closing minutes of regulation, freshman Maleah Maier ran onto a cross in the box and headed the ball from the far post to the near post. Unfortunately for the Kingsmen, Sherwood’s keeper was there to make the stop.

Ponce singled out sophomore center back Sydney Nichols for standout play on defense.

“Sydney did an exceptional job keeping the ball in front of her and keeping her composure,” he said.

“The entire defense did a good job, playing together as a group and double teaming when necessary,” Ponce said.

With the tie, Putnam moved up to 19th in the OSAA RPI rankings; Sherwood slipped to third.

Still short of players who are out with injuries, the Kingsmen (0-3-4, 0-1-1) return to NWOC play this Thursday, when they travel to Sandy (2-5-0, 0-1-0).

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