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Lady Lions make it a battle with Wildcats

St. Helens trails by just one goal until four minutes to go in match


by: JEREMY DUECK - St. Helens' Dana Sukau blocks a shot on goal during last week's match with sixth-ranked Wilsonville. St. Helens lost the match, 2-1.The St. Helens Lady Lions aren’t awed by anyone in the Northwest Oregon Conference soccer race this season.

Although they lost to now-seventh-ranked Wilsonville, 2-1, on Thursday, the Lady Lions made it a battle.

Coach Simon Date thought that St. Helens might have a chance against the Wildcats.

“We knew going into the game it was going to be a good game,” he said. “The jayvee teams battled it out and despite the scoreline (we lost 3-0) it was a fairly close game. All year the jayvee team has been a good yard-stick for how the varsity team fares, so we knew we could hang with them.”

St. Helens was giving as good as it got in the early going. “After that initial spell we invited them forward a little too much. That said, this was our best team defensive game I have seen—with the exception of the Hermiston game. Seniors Alex Vaughn and Regan Duarte had their best games for us all year. (Goalkeeper) Dana (Sukau) came up with some great saves, and Chelsee Rennie and Stevie (Strawn) outside were constantly up and down the flanks doing their defensive duties as well.”by: JEREMY DUECK - St. Helens' Lydia Reardon heads off a ball during last Thursday's match with Wilsonville. The Lady Lions put up a good battle in a 2-1 loss.

Despite their efforts, St. Helens found themselves down 1-0 at halftime.

“We talked about staying composed and compact at half-time, and to expect another initial burst of energy from Wilsonville,” Date said, “and it came, and we handled it very well. 1-0 is a tough lead to maintain, and you could tell they were certainly more anxious than we were.”

The Lady Lions kept the game close, but with 15 minutes to go Wilsonville scored off a corner kick to take a 2-0 lead.

“This was the only time I was frustrated with the team,” Date noted. “We practiced defending and attacking corner kicks and set plays, and we consistently let our guard down last night. We’ll work on that and get it right.”

Date said the team “threw caution to the wind” with about 10 minutes to go and pulled a defender (up front), leaving Nicole Hamilton and Alexandria Vaughn on their own in the back against two forwards. That put Sydney Nett up front with Genesis Hansen and Ashley Giesbers.”

Nett had scored against Woodburn under similar circumstances.

This time Giesbers went down the left side and crossed a ball that passed Hamilton, but Nett was able to volley it home.

Date said the score left Wilsonville a little “freaked out” and both teams were in furious action all over the field in the closing moments.”

“I was disappointed how we lost (on a corner kick), but could not have been more proud of the way the girls stepped up and took on the No. 6 team in the state,” Date added. Wilsonville was a state finalist last season.

St. Helens hosted Liberty on Tuesday evening. Liberty went into the game ranked eighth. The Lady Lions are at Parkrose on Thursday and host Sandy this coming Tuesday.

The NWOC only plays a single round robin this year. Four of the eight teams are ranked in the top 10 in state currently with another 12th and St. Helens 22nd. The top 24 will advance to state (top eight) or make the play-in round.

Oct. 18

St. Helens at Parkrose

Milwaukie at Sandy

Putnam at Liberty

Wilsonville at Sherwood

Oct. 23

Wilsonville at Putnam

Sherwood at Liberty

Sandy at St. Helens

Milwaukie at Parkrose

Oct. 25

St. Helens at Sherwood

Parkose at Wilsonville

Liberty at Sandy

Putnam at Milwaukie

Oct. 30

Putnam at St. Helens

Sherwood at Sandy

Liberty at Parkrose

Milwaukie at Wilsonville