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Lady Lions overcome slow start as Geisbers scores two

Late-game scoring has saved the Lions, but head coach Simon Date says that won't always work.


by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Ashley Geisbers sends a shot toward goal during the Lions' win over Hermiston. Geisbers has scored seven times this season, including two in their latest win over Milwaukie.The St. Helens Lady Lions have come away with yet another home victory. Sort of.

With their non-league schedue behind them, the No. 9 St. Helens Lady Lions (4-3-1, 1-0 NWOC) carried their momentum forward, battling back after conceding an early goal and winning their first league contest 3-2 over Milwaukie (3-3-1, 0-1 NWOC). The game will count as a home victory, but persistent rain forced St. Helens to move the match to Liberty High School in Hillsboro.

Unfamiliar home turf and an experimental defensive scheme backfired at first for the Lions. Milwaukie's Samantha Persad knocked in a goal in the fourth minute, giving St. Helens head coach Simon Date the feeling that he'd seen this movie before.

“Once again, the team started slowly,” he said. “and we (were) punished.”

The Lions, though, didn't give up. Tough play resulted in a score from senior striker Ashley Geisbers about 20 minutes in, and St. Helens took a 2-1 lead when Kiwii Huff collected a cross through the middle from Geisbers and tapped the ball into the back of the net.

Geisbers put the final nail in the coffin with her seventh goal of the season. Breaking away from the rest of the defense, she sent the ball under the Milwaukie goalkeeper to give the Lions a solid lead at three goals to one.

In spite of the victory, Date is worried that his teams' tenancy to start slowly will come back to bite them in the future. It was a very different game from the first half to the second, and that is concerning.

“The first half we were terrible and we somehow managed to finish the half equal on the score line, but the second half we started showing signs of what we can do,” said Date. “The frustrating thing for me is trying to get them to do it for 80 minutes. We are notoriously slow starting, but somehow we continue to squeak wins out.”

“Squeak” is a fairly accurate term. The victory over Milwaukie marks the third time this season that the Lions have come back from a deficit to get either a win or a draw. Against Forest Grove, it was Geisbers' last second magic that pulled St. Helens into a 1-1 draw, and Patty Galvin scored late to salvage a 2-1 win over Woodburn. Luck isn't sustainable, though, and Date knows his team can't rely on late-game voodoo.

“I was very disapointed with the way were were playing, and I let them know in no uncertain terms that their performance was not acceptable from a team as good as them,” said Date. “The thing I pride myself on is being very honest with the girls, and for 90 percent of the time that means letting them know what a great job they're doing and how much they are working and improving. Occasionally, for the other 10 percent, they need to know that being [ranked No. 9] comes with a tag and a reputation, and we're not living up to that whatsoever.”

It's not all doom and gloom, however. It was a goal for Date to open the league schedule with a win, and he said there are positives to take from the Lions' ability to come back and get results.

“Maybe that's a sign that this team is better about showing hear than they are technically,” he said.