Mackenzie Carlson's hat trick helps St. Helens girls' soccer overwhelm Wilsonville
Mackenzie Carlson and the Lions are at last out of Wilsonville's shadow.
The sophomore forward outran nearby Wildcats for 19th-, 48th- and 73rd-minute goals in a 6-0 win on Tuesday at Doc Ackerson Stadium in St. Helens.
"It felt good," said Carlson, who lay siege to Wilsonville's goal to the best of her ability for the first time since last fall in her recovery from a groin injury. "I'm just getting my confidence back."
The Lions (5-4-1 overall, 2-1-1 Northwest Oregon Conference) pitched their fifth shutout of the year after a disappointing 3-1 loss at No. 8 Milwaukie, in which Carlson said the Mustangs celebrated a few 'easy goals,' on Thursday, Oct. 5.
St. Helens broke a string of 13 losses to Wilsonville (2-5-2, 1-2-1) by an average score of 5-1 with five shutouts since 2006.
"I liked that we all worked together as a team," Lions junior forward Kaela Lee said. "So many injuries and people having to play new positions has really benefitted how we play: We've adapted to the new positions and we all work hard because we want to win. We wanted it and it was great to see how we put the energy on the field."
Lee opened scoring in the 18th minute, Kelsey Elliott nailed a penalty shot awarded for Wildcats freshman defender Keira McNamee's handball in the goal in the 30th, Lee scored again in the 38th and St. Helens led 4-0 at halftime.
"I really liked how we knew coming into this game that we were looked down upon and we were the underdogs," said Elliott, a sophomore forward. "I enjoyed watching us connect with the midfield one-two touch game, switching field if we got overpressured or overwhelmed on one side. We just had an overall amazing game, and there's no doubt in my mind if we keep playing like this the rest of the season, we should do great."
Lions coach Simon Date, delighted to have Carlson feeling well, congratulated his team via FaceTime on assistant coach Amy Forman's phone as he finds himself away for professional coaching training in St. Louis.
"The girls really played hard, and they all kept going," Forman said.
St. Helens is also eager to improve its rivalry with visiting Hillsboro (3-4-4, 2-1-1) and all-Class 5A senior midfielder Madison Ellsworth, who have outscored the Lions 12-1 with three wins and two shutouts in a row since the Spartans came down from Class 6A in 2014, at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 17.
Hillsboro averages a goal against two per match while St. Helens nets four and gives up a pair.
"It's been a long time since we went to state, but I think we're on the way," Carlson said.
The Lions, in search of their first state championship, last reached the play-in round in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 after making the first round in 2007.
ST. HELENS 6, WILSONVILLE 0
Tuesday at Doc Ackerson Stadium in St. Helens
Kaela Lee 18'
Mackenzie Carlson 19'
Kelsey Elliott (penalty) 30'
Kaela Lee 38'
Mackenzie Carlson 48'
Mackenzie Carlson 73'