St. Helens girls' soccer ready to stay atop Northwest Oregon Conference
Kaela Lee, Anessa Mandella and the Lions torched the nets against Parkrose on Tuesday.
The junior forward's four goals and and the sophomore forward's three scores lifted St. Helens to a 10-0 win at Doc Ackerson Stadium.
"We gained a solid win under our belt for league," Lee said. "Those goals will make a difference in the end because it will benefit us in terms of goal differences. We were communicating well with each other and were making more accurate and appropriate passes. It was great to see everyone working as a team."
The Lions (4-3-1 overall, 1-0-1 Northwest Oregon Conference) beat the Broncos (1-8, 0-2) for the second year in a row for their biggest triumph since their 12-1 home defeat of The Dalles on Sept. 22, 2016, and their fourth shutout of the year.
"I thought the girls did very well knowing that other teams have played well against Parkrose," St. Helens coach Simon Date said. "We had a goal tally we wanted to meet and [we] met it, but at the same time retained an element of class against a team that clearly is in transition right now."
Mandella scored in the third and ninth minutes, and Gracie Smith (17'), Sarah Bjork (23') and Lee (25', 28') followed to a 6-0 halftime lead.
Lee struck again in the 41st, Mandella completed her hat trick in the 48th, Mackenzie Carlson connected in the 51st and Lee achieved her quadfecta in the 59th.
"We continue to play through the game as a team," said Myranda Northrop, a Lions senior midfielder. "Everyone is working hard together. With injuries and players having to play multiple positions, it has made us stronger and more focused."
St. Helens rode a wave of optimism after sealing a scoreless tie at No. 5 Sandy and all-state junior forward Marley Salveter on Thursday, Sept. 28.
"The tie against Sandy was a big boost to the confidence of the girls, meaning that now they know they can hang with the big dogs in the league," Date said. "Our challenge now is to not go on a roller coaster ride of peaks and valleys and to maintain a sense of consistency that we have not done in years past. Parkrose, unfortunately for us, was not the type of test that we needed: The next test, and arguably the biggest one of the season in terms of matchups, is [Thursday] at Milwaukie."
The Lions are scheduled to play at seventh-ranked Milwaukie (7-0-1, 1-0-1) at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The Mustangs and all-conference talents Katelyn Howard (a senior forward), Ellie Holmes (a senior midfielder), Kinsleigh Edmunds (a senior goalkeeper), Makenna Presley and Annika Candee-Barnes (junior midfielders) and Mackenzie Ware (a sophomore defender) lead Class 5A with 50 goals scored and tie top-ranked Crescent Valley atop the state with two goals allowed.
St. Helens has, however, beaten Milwaukie five years in a row by an average of 4-2, and Date said neither he nor anyone in the program has lost to the Mustangs.
"Mackenzie Carlson is back [from missing summer play and the first five games with a groin issue]," Date said. "She's going to be such a massive part of our push for postseason that all the girls are happy to have her back. The way she jells with Anessa and Kaela is awesome."
The Lions are also set for a 7 p.m. home game with Wilsonville and all-conference sophomore midfielder Araxi Tejeda-Martinez, who, in jarring contrast, have beaten St. Helens in the last 13 meetings by an average score of five goals to a goal, on Tuesday.
The Wildcats' seven goals allowed ties for fourth-fewest in the state.
ST. HELENS 10, PARKROSE 0
Tuesday at Doc Ackerson Stadium
Anessa Mandella, 3'
Anessa Mandella, 9'
Gracie Smith, 17'
Sarah Bjork, 23'
Kaela Lee, 25'
Kaela Lee, 28'
Kaela Lee, 41'
Anessa Mandella, 48'
Mackenzie Carlson, 51'
Kaela Lee, 59'