By Jeremy McDonald
BEAVERTON, Ore.– Dayton’s Natalie Oliveria was thrown into a gauntlet about twenty minutes into the Pirates 3A/2A/1A State Semi-final bout with the Oregon Episcopal School.
The Aardvarks led 3-0 in their 6-0 victory Tuesday night in the Metro, scoring their first three goals within the first 18 minutes of the game. But for the sophomore, her and her defense overcame their slow-start and held OES to those three early goals.
“I feel like we did pretty good, I feel like I could’ve done better,” Oliveria said.
It was a tough way to end an incredible season in which Dayton ended up being one of the Final Four teams left as they graduate three seniors from their 13-3-1 season. The squad had a few nice runs in the game, but not the same success as they had in their first meeting to start the season in which the Aardvarks won 2-1 at OES.
But with the successes of this season with the core that will be returning in 2022, there’s a good chance the Pirates could be right back in the same spot battling for a State Championship appearance this time next year.
“It was tough, but after we settled down, we were able to make more ball movement and at least get it to our side of the field to score,” Renika Oliveria said. “I definitely think we’re going to have to have a lot more harder practices and getting together as a team and a lot more footwork. They had a lot of footwork that we didn’t, definitely stepping up our footwork and sitting on the balls.”
Oregon Episcopal will be playing Catlin Gabel for the 3A/2A/1A State Title at 10am on November 13. The Dayton boys play Catlin on Saturday at 1pm following their 2-1 win over Riverside.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald