By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Faced with a 1-nil deficit entering the final 10 minutes of the game on home turf, the Sprague Lady Olympians found several last second grooves to try to tie the game up and hand rival South just their third tie of the season Tuesday night.
Emelie Wilkinson had her shot with 6:38 left in the game. No good. Madison Aften a minute and a half later saw her shot off her knee saved by the Lady Saxons Anna Burger.
After that shot and send off, South used their speed to drive up the pitch to Sprague’s star goalkeeper in Aly Smith and Sariah Venegas found that right spot to get past the shifty junior with two minutes left in the game for the then 2-0 lead.
“I just felt like I really had to score at that minute, but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates getting me that ball so I could score,” said Venegas on the goal that sealed the Saxons fifth-win of the season. Maria Juarez scored the first goal in the 36th minute.
The Olys kept up their offensive push, trying to prevent from being the South’s fifth shutout of the season, but weren’t able to do so before time expired.
“I think it’s always tough when you go the whole game tied, 1-0. Then you have the hopes that your going to tie the game,” said Smith. “It sucked honestly that they got the second goal, but we pushed. They outplayed us the whole game, they’ve had good possession, good other important stuff, but we fought until the very end and we didn’t give up, which is the best part of the team.
“I think it was difficult that they got that second goal and we weren’t able to tie it, but we worked hard and I’m proud of that.”
For Sprague (2-4-1, 1-2 GVC), it’s onto McNary Thursday and the Lady Celtics (4-2-1, 0-2-1 GVC) are looking for their first league win after falling 0-2 to West Albany Tuesday evening, to get this sour taste out of their mouths as they look for their second GVC win of the season.
“We use every game as a learning experience, so I think this game is going to teach us keeping the intensity high, a lot of good touches, keep everything close, one-two touch soccer,” said Smith. “So I think we’re going to use that as a learning experience and we need to get a lot of shots off. But other than that, we’re really strong right now, so it’s just getting the ball to the back of the net and we’ll be set for McNary.”
The Saxons now turn their focus to a very tough West Salem team, who are coming off a 3-0 win over Forest Grove Thursday and are 2-0-1 in Greater Valley Conference play as South (2-0), the Lady Titans (2-0-1) and West Albany (3-0) are all battling out for the GVC lead at the moment.
“We just going to keep doing what we’re doing. There’s a lot of heart on the field, a lot of guts that we can pull out a win,” said Venegas.