West Linn girls soccer flexes muscles in 3-1 win over South Eugene
The West Linn girls soccer team was focused.
They were focused, ready and determined.
They put all those attributes to good use on Tuesday night, rolling past South Eugene 3-1 in non-league action at West Linn High School.
"I thought our team worked really hard, put a lot of effort in and we were just working the whole time and we didn't let up," said West Linn senior forward Rae Peters, who scored two of her team's three goals on Tuesday. "Obviously, we let in an unfortunate goal, but we responded quickly and I'm very proud of us for doing that."
"We work to be the fittest team out here, in our league and in the state," explained West Linn senior midfielder Calli Masters, who assisted on her team's first goal. "We always work to make sure that we can outrun them, outplay them, have better position than them in all aspects — we like to control the game."
With the win, the Lions improved to 2-0-1 in non-league play, while the Axes fell to 0-3-1.
After struggling to put the ball in the back of the net in their previous contest, the Lions were happy to put the ball away against South Eugene.
"We did a better job of finding forwards than we have in the last couple of games," said senior forward Rosie Larsen, who scored the game's first goal late in the first half. She added that the key to the win was "getting the ball to the midfielders and … not just skipping that second part of the field and going straight from defense to offense."
Besides the final score and the "W," the Lions also dominated possession, outshot the Axes by double-digits and allowed South Eugene almost nothing offensively.
That said, it took a while for the Lions to get on the scoreboard.
West Linn got early shots from Jill Brody, Masters, Peters and Carmel Corrigan, and corner kicks from Peters and Brody, but didn't score until just 10 minutes, 36 seconds remained in the opening half.
There, Masters sent a long free kick into the South Eugene penalty box, Larsen ran onto the ball at the right post and knocked it past Axe keeper Bri Alvarez for a 1-0 lead.
"We had to get our momentum going," Masters said. "That first goal give us the motivation we needed to keep driving and keep going."
With the West Linn midfield, defense and keeper Alyx Burkhartzmeyer keeping the Axes far from the West Linn goal, the Lions pushed their lead to 2-0 just 2:04 later when Peters bombed in a 27-yard shot that soared over Alvarez into the top left corner of the South Eugene goal.
"I had a lot of space in the midfield, the ball was on my left foot and I thought I might as well just go for it," Peters said. "I decided to take a shot and, luckily, it went in."
Already ahead 2-0, the Lions kept the pressure on in the second half, but as in the first half, West Linn didn't score right away. Peters had four shots — three on goal — in the first 10 minutes of the second half, but it was South Eugene that got on the scoreboard next.
With 11:18 left in the contest, South Eugene's Evelyn Trammell made a long run up the right side and took a shot that was initially deflected, but bounced free to right side where teammate Jolie Croissant stepped up to score and bring her team within 2-1.
Undaunted, the Lions responded just 1:31 later, with Brody sending a pass across the field to Peters, who collected the ball 25 yards out of goal and blasted a shot to the top left corner of the goal for the final 3-1 margin.
"I just kind of hit that one as hard as I could," Peters said.
After the game, the Lions talked about might lie ahead in 2018.
"I really like how the team has been shaping up," Masters said. "We have a fairly young team, a lot of new players. We lost a lot from last year, but I'm really impressed and proud of our team and how we've come together."
In upcoming games, West Linn hosts Summit at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, then play at Clackamas at 7 p.m. Monday.