Sandy strikes late in the first half and never trails in a 2-1 win over Hood River

by: SANDY POST: PARKER LEE - Sandys Sara Cass dribbles the ball through the Hood River defense. The Sandy girls’ soccer team fended off a late surge from Hood River Valley to earn a 2-1 victory last Tuesday — the team’s first win of the season.

“We played tough. It was nice to see everything come together,” Sandy coach Justin Luebbert said. “It was good to see them start to figure things out. They played well, and the result showed that.”

Sandy drew first blood in the later stages of the first half with constant aggressiveness on offense. At the 33-minute mark, the ball rolled to Lexie Moss on the left side of the goal, about 10 yards out. She fired off a shot, but it bounced off the right post.

Hood River knocked it out of bounds, giving the Pioneers a corner kick. The kick from sophomore Ella Templin sailed past a handful of Pioneers attempting to redirect it in, but Sandy maintained possession. The Pioneers swung the ball back around to Templin on the right sideline. Her defender was slightly out of position, which gave her enough space for a strike. From 25 yards away, Templin blasted a laser that whizzed through the air and just past the outstretched fingers of Hood River goalkeeper Sophia Marble, giving Sandy a 1-0 lead.

It appeared Templin’s goal would be enough, because the Sandy defense was flawless in the first half. The Eagles struggled to advance the ball downfield, and they never had a good look at the net.

The Pioneers tacked on another goal 13 minutes into the second half. On a corner kick, Templin booted the ball into a cluster of players from both teams. No one from either side made contact with the ball on the fly, but after one bounce, Moss emerged from the pack and headed it past the keeper for the score. That goal would prove to be the difference.

Ten minutes after Moss’ goal, multiple Eagles used outstanding ball movement to get behind the Pioneers’ defense. That set up Hood River’s Collette Zack who lobbed the ball over the hands of Sandy goalkeeper Kelby Richardson. The ball found the net just under the crossbar, cutting Sandy’s lead to one goal.

“As a team, we played really good defense in the first half,” Luebbert said. “In the second half, we started separating in our defense, and our offense. That gave them space to play into.”

Over the course of the final 15 minutes, Hood River had a few decent opportunities to tie the game, including one chance on a corner kick. Perhaps the two best looks for Hood River came on seemingly-open shots from a few feet outside the box. Both times, Sandy defender Shannon Trantham jetted in to make the deflection. Despite the close calls, the Pioneers’ defense was disruptive enough to hang on for the win.

“We pulled our midfield back to connect with our defense,” Luebbert said. “That let us do a better job pressuring as a team, which kept them from getting behind us.”

The Pioneers improved to 1-2 with the victory.

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