By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Here’s what is interesting about the Western Christian Girls Soccer team. They return one girl from last year’s co-op team with Amity. Of their 11 girls they had for Tuesday’s game, seven played Volleyball last year before coming out to revive the soccer program at the school and the other three are freshmen.
After going down 1-0, thanks to a first-half goal by Ella Grubber going into the second half, the Pioneers slowly built up some momentum and eventually tied the game at 1 when freshman Haley Miersma connected on a shot. Sparking the young, inexperienced team to push and challenge the Crusaders coming down the stretch of the game in Leah Quesada’s first game as Head Coach.
“We were all happy and we wanted to get another one, but sadly we couldn’t. We did amazing, especially for our first game,” Miersma said.
“It doesn’t mean a lot to people because some people didn’t think we were going to come out and be anything because we just sparked a team,” adds Madi Nicoli. “This game has really shown us that we can do it and I hope we can match them well and put up a fight because we have a really hard working team.”
For Salem Academy, who too were playing their first game under a new Head Coach in Stephanie Law, didn’t crumble following the Miersma goal. Sticking together as one as they too had a few opportunities in the second half as they opened the season on the road. Showing that they were just a hard working team as their Western Christian counterparts going into the season.
“That didn’t really phase anybody. I was wondering maybe some of our younger girls, would it get them down? Everyone was out of breath, but I didn’t see anyone give up,” said Salem Academy’s Grace Hinkle. “This was a really good first game under our belt. We need to take it step-by-step, the other teams we’re going to play (this year) are really good like Dayton. I think if we just keep working on our conditioning, I think we’re going to be a fundamentally sound team.”
The Crusaders are off until September 9 when they host Yamhill-Carlton while the Pios are off until September 10 when they travel to Taft to play the Tigers.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald