Cowgirls fall to Ridgeview on senior night
If there is such a thing as a moral victory, the Crook County Cowgirls earned one on Tuesday.
Although the Cowgirls fell 7-0 to the league-leading Ridgeview Ravens, the squad played their best soccer of the year.
"I'm proud of the team," said Crook County head coach Destanie Johnson. "I'm excited about how they played tonight."
Playing in freezing temperatures on senior night, the homestanding Cowgirls gave up a goal just 45 seconds into the match, as midfielder Sadie Benz got behind the Crook County defense and easily beat Crook County goalkeeper Lakyra Walker in a one-on-one situation.
That goal seemed to make Crook County more determined as the underdog Cowgirls pushed the action and earned several scoring opportunities in the next few minutes.
However, the Cowgirls were unable to finish.
Eventually, the league-leading Ravens began to take control.
Hadley Brown scored Ridgeview's second goal 13 minutes into the contest.
The Ravens scored again midway through the first half when the Cowgirls were called for a handball inside the penalty area. Hadley Brown took the penalty shot for Ridgeview and drilled the ball into the back of the net to give the Ravens a 3-0 lead.
The Ravens scored again with 10 minutes remaining in the first half as Scout Bale was able to knock the ball into the back of the goal.
At halftime, the Cowgirls recognized their seniors, with underclassmen speaking to the audience about what each senior meant to them.
When play resumed, temperatures had dropped into the 20s and people in the already sparse crowd began to leave the match.
Ridgeview scored their fifth goal 10 minutes into the second half as Tatem Jensen got behind the Cowgirl defense.
Bale scored her second goal of the match with 26 minutes remaining.
Trailing 6-0, the Cowgirls continued to press the action, earning several more scoring chances before the Ravens scored one final goal with under 10 minutes remaining in the match.
When the two squads met in Redmond earlier in October, the Ravens raced away to a 14-0 win as the Cowgirls were unable to push the ball into the Ridgeview side of the field.
This time, time of possession was nearly equal, with Ridgeview's goalkeeper being forced to play the ball over and over.
However, the Cowgirls were unable to finish, as each time it looked like they would have an easy shot, a Ridgeview defender was able to deflect the ball.
Still the Cowgirls were pleased with how much better they had played against the high-powered Ravens than in the two teams earlier meeting.
"We definitely improved," said senior defender Jiselle Gish. "Being a new team with a lot of new players, we've improved individually and as a whole. I'm really proud of the team."
Time and again, just when it looked like the Ravens would score, Gish was able to get to the ball and knock it away.
Ridgeview earned a dozen corner kicks, but each time the Cowgirl defense was up to the challenge and were able to knock the ball away.
Instead, the only times that Ridgeview was able to score was when the Cowgirls pushed the ball up the field and the Ravens were able to counter attack.
"It's pretty tough to lose on senior night, but I'm so proud of this team and we all worked really hard today," Gish said. "So I'm sad, but I'm proud. I love this team."
With the loss, the Cowgirls fell to 0-13 overall and 0-9 in conference play, while the Ravens improved to 9-4 overall and 8-1 in league.
Ridgeview is tied with Hood River Valley for first place in the IMC with one match left to play.
The Cowgirls played their final match of the year on Thursday when they traveled to Redmond to play the Panthers, 5-8, 3-6.
Gish is one of just five seniors on this year's Cowgirl roster.
The team is loaded with underclassmen who have significant varsity experience and Gish believes that experience will pay off next year.
"The foundation was already there and we have just made it stronger this year," she said. "I'm ready to see some games next year because this team is going to be tough."
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