Cowgirls control the ball virtually the entire match as they pick up their second consecutive victory

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Grace Flitner takes a shot at goal during the second half of the Cowgirls' 2-0 victory over the La Pine Hawks Tuesday afternoon. Flitner scored the final goal of the game for the Cowgirls, who have improved to 2-2 on the year. The Crook County Cowgirls dominated play Tuesday, but struggled to score as they defeated the La Pine Hawks 2-0 in non-league soccer action.

"I'm pleased defensively, but we need to calm down a little bit on our finishing," said Crook County head coach Rich Abrams. "A little cooler heads and we would have had another four goals, but that's OK. They didn't really have a credible shot on goal the entire game."

The victory is the second consecutive win for Crook County after starting the season 0-2 and have now evened their record at 2-2.

The Cowgirls controlled the ball virtually the entire match, as La Pine struggled just to get the ball out of their end of the field.

The Cowgirl defense was so dominant that Crook County did not take a single goal kick the entire match, while Cowgirl goalkeeper Marlen Ceja Prado touched just three balls, none of which were shots on goal.

However, despite peppering the La Pine goal with shots, the Cowgirls struggled to score, going into the half tied 0-0 with the Hawks.

The Cowgirls took at least 15 shots in the half. Some missed right, some left, a couple just over the crossbar, and a handful were saved by La Pine's goalkeeper.

The Cowgirls continued to pressure the Hawks in the second half, with Crook County forward Gracie Kasberger firing a shot off the crossbar less than two minutes.

In the next five minutes, Crook County had six more shots, either straight to the La Pine goalie or just off line, as the score remained tied.

Crook County finally got on the scoreboard 49 minutes into the match as Faith Wagner made a perfect centering pass to Kasberger, who found the back of the goal to put the Cowgirls ahead for good.

Crook County picked up an insurance goal midway through the half as Grace Flitner scored on an assist by Kasberger.

"It felt really amazing," Flitner said of her goal. "I wasn't expecting it, but I was really happy. This win means a lot to me and the team. I feel like we LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Zoe Guthrie pushes the ball upfield from her midfield position during the second half of the Cowgirls' win.have played a lot better than we ever have. We have more passing and are being more like a team, so it was pretty awesome."

Following Flitner's goal, the Cowgirls continued to get scoring opportunities.

The team had been called for fouls the entire match for their aggressive play, and late in the match, that began to hurt the Cowgirls as they had three different starters given yellow cards for rough play.

Each yellow card meant that the player had to temporarily leave the game. In addition, if a player were to pick up a second yellow card in the same match, they would be disqualified from further action and would be forced to miss the first half of the team's next game.

As a result, all three players sat for much of the final portion of the game, and when they did return to the field, Abrams told them to make sure that they were on their best behavior and played carefully.

Still, even with the change in rotation and the more cautious play, Crook County continued to dominate play.

The Cowgirl defenders spent most of the game playing near the center of the field.

"We pushed up basically to where the midfield would play," Crook County senior defender Shelby Squire said. "They got scared and didn't know what to do. They would get psyched out and then lose the ball."

Abrams noted that the defenders pushing forward was by design.

"I told Emma Hehn to keep them pushed up — really far up," he said. "It basically sucked away their space, and they really struggled the whole game to get out of their half. Last year we lost to this team 4-1 in La Pine, so I'm pleased to turn that around and get a win."

Abrams added that although he is pleased with how the team is currently playing, they still have room for improvement.

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Faith Wagner plays the ball away from a La Pine player during the Cowgirls shutout of the Hawks Tuesday afternoon. Wagner assisted on the first Cowgirl goal in their 2-0 victory. "We were passing a lot better and finding the open player, but obviously, there is still a lot to work on," he said. "But it's huge progress from where we came from. Anybody that saw us last year wouldn't even recognize us."

Squire noted that the team is pleased to have won the last two matches, but the seniors in particular still have a lot to prove.

"All the seniors, we want to do our best," she said. "A lot of people at the school think the soccer team is not very good, and we want to show them that they are wrong. It feels really good to get a win, and people should come and support our team."

The Cowgirls played on the road on Thursday at Sandy.

Following Thursday's contest, the team will have a week to prepare before beginning league with a road match at The Dalles (0-3) on Thursday, Sept. 20.

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