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Lions girls' soccer will attack, attack, attack this fall

St. Helens unleashes new scheme, stars, attitude

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: JAKE MCNEAL - McKenna Coddington, right, an incoming St. Helens High School freshman, chases a lead ball in the Lions' 4-3 friendly defeat of Class 3A Rainier on Monday at St. Helens High.Monday's third period was the Lions' best of the summer.

St. Helens scored twice in the last 30 minutes and took the 4-3 friendly from visiting Class 3A Rainier.

"We got to blood them," Lions coach Simon Date said. "This is the first year we have all club players, whether in Portland or FC Columbia County."

The young Lions unleash a new attacking 4-3-3 after scoring an average of 1.5 goals and allowing 3.1 the last three years.

They've gone 13-26-4 overall and 4-16-3 in the Northwest Oregon Conference in that time.

The Lions last reached the first round of the Class 5A state tournament in 2007 and have never won a state championship.

Ashley Giesbers scored 21 St. Helens goals as an all-conference senior forward last season, so three forwards in the new system need to push the pace.

Braya Hutton, a defender, and Sophia Estep, a midfielder, are this year's junior captains back from all-conference honorable mentions.

Kennady Brown, an honorable mention midfielder, will be a sophomore, and honorable mention keeper Morgan Bingaman is back as a junior.

Jade Kearsley, a sophomore forward-to-be, left Monday's game with a knee injury but came off the pitch in good spirits.

St. Helens heads to a 6 p.m. friendly on Saturday at rival Sandy, which fell to No. 3 Bend in the state quarterfinals and features all-conference first-team junior defender Sophie Burton.

The Lions' alumni game is 6 p.m. on Sunday at St. Helens High.

"[The alumni game] came about because I wanted the girls to understand where the program had come from and how lucky they were to have some of the resources and facilities that they currently enjoy," Date said. "We have a gathering and play against the old-timers."

The winners receive the Strawn/Maye Cup, named after Elizabeth Maye and Amanda Maye-Strawn of St. Helens who died in a car accident in 2014 near Albany.