By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Sprague Girls Soccer had to rebound quickly from playing 80 hard minutes the night before at home in their 4-3 win over Lebanon Tuesday night.
It was barely more than 18 hours after that game in which the Lady Olympians were back on the pitch to face a Grants Pass-team that were fully rested with their last game being played Saturday when they played Ashland.
But nonetheless, Sprague went to work against the Lady Cavemen with Grants Pass leading 1-0 at the halftime break.
“It was kind of hard going into this game still recovering from the other game because we used up all of our energy last night, we gave it everything,” said Summer Steketee on the back-to-back games. “Today I think we were a little bit out of it. We were really tired…I think we were really tired today.
“We can use it to improve because we can focus on recovery and we have to push through, no matter how hard the game is and how tried we are.”
Entering the second half, fatigue was showing with the Cavemen bringing pressure offensively to challenge the backline of Eden Sipes, Djuna Plechi and Mac Wernicke, three of Sprague’s eight freshman on the Varsity roster this season.
The girls along with senior goalie Elly Ruiz stepping in for Ally Jones who’s not on the squad this season, did their best with Steketee, Aspen DeConcini and company tried to duplicate Tuesday night’s success from the Olys side of the offensive ball. But Grants Pass got two more goals in to make it 3-0 by the 61st minute.
It seemed though, those two goals by the Southern Oregon-squad settled the girls down as they realized they still had a chance to do some damage in the final 19 minutes of the game with them scoring at least two goals in four of their last five games entering Wednesday’s game.
“After that, we finally realized that ‘wow, we are down. We need to do something about it’, that’s when in my mind the intensity just snapped. I was like, ‘we are down and we need to do something about it’,” said DeConcini, who her and Steketee tried to spark something for the Sprague offense to try to mount some kind of comeback if not just get a goal on the board. “For the youngsters, we have eight freshman on the team, so we have a really young team. They look up to us, so I think when it snapped for us, it also snapped for them.”
Steketee scored her third goal in the past two games with seven minutes to go that was followed by DeConcini’s goal with two minutes to go with all-of-a-sudden, it’s a ballgame and Sprague could force a tie if not more with 120 seconds left in the game.
Just as when the Olympians thought they had Grants Pass on the ropes, the Cavemen found a crease and took advantage of relaxed Sprague defense, scoring with under 30 seconds left in the game that iced the 4-2 victory in favor of Grants Pass.
“After Summer’s goal, it was like ‘wow we can still do this’. So after that my quick goal and then I thought we had to keep up the high-confrontation line, we can’t let them get behind us. We have to send balls up so we can get through because we were down one, I thought if we got that equalizer…if we end in a tie, we’ll take it but I think we got a little too relax,” said DeConcini.
“They got a little behind us, we weren’t on our toes enough and I think that last goal in the last minute. I think it was because we weren’t focusing too much on connecting and getting up the field not getting back and it was trouble.”
Sprague, who are sitting at 3-3 on the season, will have a few days to recover from two tough games back-to-back with them wrapping up their non-league schedule hosting Roosevelt High School Monday at 7pm.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald