White Buffalos score two goals in each half while Cowgirls are unable to take advantage of their scoring opportunities

WILL DENNER/MADRAS PIONEER - Crook County goalkeeper Hazel Hoffman holds the ball after making a stop Tuesday against the Madras White Buffalos, while defender Emma Hehn starts to run up the field. Madras won the match 4-0. The Crook County girls soccer team kept busy in front of its own goal Tuesday.

Facing Madras on its home field, the Cowgirls were forced to rely heavily on their defense, as the White Buffalos peppered them with shots early and often.

To the Cowgirls' credit, particularly junior goalkeeper Hazel Hoffman, the Lady Buffs couldn't find the back of the net, at least not at first.

The Buffs found opportunities in the middle of the field, dribbling through defenders in the Cowgirls' half of the field, but the Cowgirls stepped in front of several Madras pass attempts near goal.

Midway through the first half, however, Madras junior Erika Olivera sent a through ball to sophomore Briseida Carlon, who gathered in the right corner of the box and scored. A few minutes later, senior Alesha Freeman launched a throw-in from the sideline that found its way to Olivera, who easily scored in the middle.

Madras carried that 2-0 lead at the halftime whistle and added two more goals in the second half to beat Crook County 4-0.

"We didn't play our best game, but kudos to them — they put the ball in the net," Crook County head coach Rich Abrams said.

The Cowgirls (0-8, 0-5 Tri-Valley Conference) remained winless with the loss, but it wasn't for a lack of effort. The simple fact remains, Abrams said, that they are an inexperienced bunch, with only two seniors on this year's roster, and three returning varsity players from last season.

"We're seeing progression, but sometimes progression then regression," Abrams said. "We're a little bit of a yo-yo right now, but we're steadily getting better, so hopefully by the end of the year we'll be able to put up a better game than today."

TWILL DENNER/MADRAS PIONEER - Gracie Kasberger just misses on a scoring opportunity for the Cowgirls in their 4-0 loss to the Madras White Buffalos on Tuesday. Kasberger had multiple scoring chances in the match, but was unable to connect. he Cowgirls did have several attacks that nearly produced goals, however. The Madras defense at times had trouble keeping forwards Gracie Kasberger and Faith Wagner in front of them.

On at least three occasions, Kasberger got the ball with little resistance. One of those possessions, Kasberger and Freeman battled for possession, and Crook County earned a corner kick. The other two, Kasberger received the ball cleanly and took the shot, but neither was on target.

"Just a little bit of calmness in the finish would've done it," Abrams said.

For Madras, the offensive explosion was a rare sight to see. A team that typically relies on its defense to win games, the Buffs had only scored three goals prior to Tuesday.

They more than doubled that margin after the victory. The Buffs increased their margin of victory after Olivera's cross to Michell Galan set up her goal into the bottom left corner of the net. Senior Aislyn Alonso also added a goal late in the match for Madras.

"Four goals (by) four different players — that's always nice," said Madras head coach Shawn Darrow. "Hopefully it will boost their confidence to get some in the back of the net for future games, because we're going to need to find the back of the net."

The win moved Madras (3-2-2, 2-1-2 TVC) into third place in league, trailing only Gladstone and Molalla. It also marked the first time the Buffs have had a winning record this season.

"We still have a lot of work to do," Darrow said. "I'm happy for the girls, especially the ones who have been here through it all, and have gone through the losing seasons. To actually have a season where we're competitive in every game and winning games … it's really nice. Hopefully we keep up the trend and get a playoff berth."

Next up, Crook County plays at Corbett on Tuesday, while Madras hosts Estacada.

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