By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The first 22 minutes of the game saw Sprague jump out to a 3-0 lead on North Salem behind goals from Aspen DeConcini, McKenzie Wernicke and Madalyn Neufeld in the Olympians 6-1 victory over the Vikings Monday night in South Salem.
Their second loss to West Salem, where their only two defeats had come from, have driven Sprague in the games that followed against McKay, McNary and now with North has the Olys sitting at 7-2 on the year with a young team.
“(The West Salem loss) was a tough one mentally, but we just needed to get rid of that and move past it. These games have helped boost our confidence and get back to our playing style and get ready for our next game,” DeConcini said.
With three seniors on the roster, DeConcini, Chloe Rogers and Issy Bowen, the six-week season has given the trio one last golden opportunity to play and leave their marks as the program is having their best season in a few years. The last time Sprague had a seven-win season was the 2016-2017 season when they went 9-4-2 overall as they tried to add to their lead in the closing minutes of the first half.
“I’m so thankful to have a season, it was definitely a worry especially with Chloe. She had an ACL-injury so she thought she wasn’t going to get to play, so we got really lucky,” DeConcini starts. “With our incoming freshman and everyone with this whole program, it definitely boosted our confidence and happiness during this whole quarantine.
“It’s definitely a blessing to be out here and playing with everyone.”
After a tough first-loop through the Salem-schools, the Vikings had settled in as Elizabeth Hernandez drew North Salem to within two of Sprague in the 33rd minute. Making it a 3-1 ballgame after their defense held the Olympians to a Wernicke 39th minute goal after Sprague’s hot start to the game.
“It was incredibly a very good ball from my teammate Izayra (Arreola) and I saw space ahead so I went for it, it definitely gave us a confidence booster and put a fight in us to try to score again,” Hernandez starts, scoring the Vikings second goal of the season. “We started very slow and had some goals against us but once we started to get a rhythm in the back it was harder for Sprague to score. I think they did very well. I heard more communication and leadership.”
DeConcini, who went on to finish with a hat trick along with Wernicke’s brace-feat Monday evening, scored twice in 52nd minute, putting some crucial distance between the Olys and the Viks after Hernandez’ score. The defense created headaches as both teams wrap up their six-week schedules next Monday.
Sprague with South Salem, North Salem with McKay with both games at 7:30pm.
“McKay’s always a good opponent for us, the goal is going to make us work hard in practice to go out there on senior night and fight like we did today,” Hernandez said.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald