By Jeremy McDonald
GERVAIS, Ore.– When Gervais’ Natali Herinckx connected on her goal late in the first half, it’s significance went up-and-beyond just the Cougars sixth-goal of the season, it gave Gervais confidence and momentum against Salem Academy with the game knotted up at one entering halftime.
“It was definitely a confidence booster,” starts Herinckx, who also kicks for the Cougars Football team and made her first extra-point last Friday versus Willamina. “After that, everyone was just going to the ball, they didn’t hesitate, they weren’t waiting for it.
“It was, ‘hey, we made one goal, let’s make another’. So it was definitely helpful in that area.”
Entering the second half, the Lady Crusaders owned the time of possession with the ball, as Aimee Smith and company constantly brought the heat against the Gervais last line of defense, but the Cougars flustered Salem Academy with physicality and constant denial to keep them off the board for the majority of the second half.
“I mean it’s always a little bit frustrating, it’s apart of soccer and being in that position as a midfielder, you got to expect to be up there and the chance of it getting sent to our defense, just got to push out,” said Campbell. “It’s a little bit frustrating, but it’s just our job and we just got to get it done.”
“We were all doing our best. I mean were all proud of each other, we really put in…we all left it out on the field,” said Herinckx. “The defense played the entire game, they were intense, they were shutting down the good players and it was unlucky that one goal slipped through.”
Gervais had a handful of chances to put one in, but ran into the same trouble as their counterpart against the Crusader defense as both sides continued to find that one dagger to go ahead and play with the lead.
The dagger came late in the game when, in a cluster by the goal, Campbell connected for the game-winner to hand Salem Academy their third win of the season.
“It was so exciting, I was feeling, definitely the pressure of the game-time running out, so I was like ‘I got to be there’. Even though I was super tired, I had to be there trying to finish it,” said Campbell on the goal.
With Amity Saturday at 2pm at home, the Crusaders will have to find a way to get a goal or two past Morgan Croxford and the Warriors in a similar defensive backfield battle in less than 48 hours. Croxford held Blanchet Catholic to one goal as the Lady Warriors defeated Salem Academy on September 28 3-2, two days after that Cavaliers match.
“We just need to go out and just play more as a team and just be super encouraging and really working on our crosses and our finishes and just being there,” said Campbell. “Just being aggressive even how tired we are with those crosses and just being there.”
With their next game against Amity, Gervais got a taste of what they need to do to get the ball rolling to finish the season strong.
“This will definitely help us for Monday’s game because Monday’s game, they, the first-time we played them, we were really close until the last 20 minutes,” said Herinckx. “So hopefully since we played all the way through this game, we’ll carry on to Monday’s and we’ll just keep playing as hard as we can.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald