Ashley Giesbers and Nichole Hamilton combine for three goals, and Athena Duggen pitched her first shutout.

by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - St. Helens forward Ashley Giesbers (left) celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Hermiston. Geisbers scored a pair in the match, the second coming on a penalty kick in the second half.A little past the midway point of the second half, St. Helens forward Ashley Giesbers jogged to the sideline at the direction of coach Simon Date. The Lions (3-2-1) were up big on Hermiston (1-5-0), holding their largest lead all season. With a pair of goals under her belt already, it looked like she would sit the remaining minutes of St. Helens' victory on Tuesday afternoon.

Giesbers had different plans. Instead of stopping at the water cooler and taking a seat on the bench, she remained on her feet, and asked to go back in.

“Take a breath,” said Date. “Take a breath and we'll send you back in.”

A few minutes later, Giesbers was back on the field. With less than ten minutes remaining, there wasn't much time for another score and St. Helens won the match 3-0, but the message was clear: she's here to score goals.

Her talents, according to Date, couldn't be more important. Even with the elevation of several players around Giesbers, she is still the backbone of the offense and gets the lion's share of attention from opposing defenses.

“The Dalles, Forest Grove, South Albany and two here,” said Giesbers, confirming her goal total following the match.

by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Sophomore Genesis Hansen battles a Bulldog defender for possession. While Hansen didn't score, she made a huge impact by repeatedly winning balls from the opposing team, no matter how bady outmatched.This season, Giesbers has been complimented up front with scoring talent around her, giving the Lions more options and taking some of the pressure off. Leading that list has been sophomore Nichole Hamilton, who got the final touch on a misplayed ball by Hermiston's goalkeeper and tapped the ball in to put St. Helens up by two late in the first half. Hamilton was a considerable threat in the second as well, putting a shot just barely wide left in the 63rd minute, and sending a dangerous cross all the way through the box in the 66th.

The first half goal was the third score for Hamilton, who was part of several impressive runs up the sideline in the latter stages of the match that showed St. Helens much improved skill with short passes and possession. However technically strong, it was the fight and ferocity in the Lady Lions that impressed the most. Particularly one instance where Genesis Hansen, one of the Lions' smallest players, won the ball from the feet of Hermiston's big centerback, and sent her opponent sprawling on the grass.

The win came as a breath of fresh air for the Lions, who have battled injuries and sickness all week. A scary moment in the first half saw junior Kristian Collins crumple in a heap on the ground after taking a weird step and badly tweaking her knee. The battered roster forced Date to juggled a few players around, but he was happy with the result.

“It was a good game,” said Date. “We got the ball down, we tried to pass and we were successful doing it.”

Now having gone 2-1-1 in their last four games, St. Helens will travel to face Barlow High School on Sept. 30, before returning home to face Milwaukie on Oct. 3 in their Northwest Oregon Conference opener.

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