Midfielder Zoe Guthrie scores lone Crook County goal in 6-1 loss at Hood River Valley

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Zoe Guthrie plays the ball up the field in a match earlier this year. Guthrie scored the Cowgirls' lone goal in their 6-1 loss to Hood River Valley this past Tuesday.The Crook County Cowgirls soccer team has been struggling with injuries.

With four starters out of the lineup, the Cowgirls have struggled to stay in matches during the second half of the Intermountain Conference season.

Although the team played better on Tuesday, they still found themselves on the short end of a 6-1 contest against the Hood River Valley Eagles.

Despite the loss, Crook County players and coaches were both pleased with the improvement they saw.

When the two teams met in Prineville earlier in the season, Crook County was missing just one starter but was unable to generate a single scoring opportunity as the visiting Eagles soared to a 7-0 victory.

Playing on the road on Tuesday not only did the Cowgirls generate several opportunities to score, they stayed in contention for much of the contest before stumbling late in the match.

"The second half we were in their half (of the field) quite a bit, and we generated several chances to score," Crook County head coach Rich Abrams said.

Hood River Valley broke into the scoring column midway through the first half. The Eagles struck again late in the half, taking a 2-0 lead into the break.

The Eagles scored again to take a 3-0 lead.

However, the Cowgirls battled back, scoring a goal of their own.

Emma Bales passed a ball through the Hood River Valley defense to a racing Zoe Guthrie. Guthrie beat the final defender and had a one-on-one opportunity against Hood River Valley goaltender Barrett Ihde. Ihde charged toward Guthrie, diving for the ball and knocking Guthrie down.

Guthrie quickly recovered, leaped over Ihde, who was still on the ground, and powered the ball into the back of the net.

"Bales made this amazing, beautiful pass," Guthrie said. "The goalie comes running in, trying to take it, and she takes me out, but I got up, and I nudged it into the goal. It was a beautiful goal."

On an emotional high from the goal, the Cowgirls pressed the action for the next several minutes. However, Hood River Valley recovered and once again began to pressure Crook County.

Midway through the half, the Eagles broke through, scoring on an own goal, as one of the Crook County defenders inadvertently kicked the ball into the goal.

The mistake seemed to deflate the Cowgirls, who gave up two more quick goals.

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Tienna Quinn plays the ball away from a Hood River Valley player during the two teams' meeting in Prineville earlier this year. Hood River Valley won Tuesday's game 6-1. "We were actually playing really good and then we started getting frazzled," Guthrie said. "After that goal, we kind of fell apart. We were breaking down and not communicating well."

With the loss, Crook County fell to 2-9-1 overall and 0-6-1 in conference play, while Hood River Valley improved to 4-5-2 overall and 4-2-1 in league.

The Cowgirls played at league-leading Ridgeview, 8-2-1, 7-0, on Thursday, then return home on Tuesday to close out the season with a match against the Redmond Panthers.

The Panthers have also been struggling to win matches this year and have a 2-9-1 overall record and a 1-5-1 league mark.

When the two teams met in early October, they played to a 3-3 draw.

"Come watch our Redmond home game," Guthrie said. "We have been getting better, and I think we can take them."

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