Crook County girls soccer loses two but grab season's first goal
Season history was made by the Crook County Cowgirls soccer squad last week — the first goal of the season was scored.
The goal helped take the sting out of two home losses, to The Dalles and Lakeview.
On Thursday, the Cowgirls opened league with a 6-0 loss to The Dalles, then Saturday Crook County hosted Class 3A Lakeview, falling 5-2 to the Honkers.
The Cowgirls fell behind early in Thursday's match with The Dalles, giving up goals in the fifth and 11th minutes of the game.
After that, the Cowgirl defense settled down before giving up two more goals late in the first half.
Trailing 4-0, Crook County adjusted their defense prior to the start of the second half. The strategy worked as the Cowgirls gave up just two more goals in the second half.
"We've defintely come together more as a team," midfielder Emma Bales said. "We started out the season as one player has their own thing and another player has another, but now we have worked on it so we all fit together. Our passes are connecting and we are able to talk to each other and read each other."
Although Bales was disappointed with the outcome, she was also optimistic about the improvement the team has seen so far this season.
"Our defense played amazing," she said. "The first half was beautiful. We had shots, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season."
Early in Saturday's match with Lakeview, it looked like Bales was right to be optimistic. The Cowgirls pressed the action, controlling the ball for much of the first portion of the match. Then, midway through the first half, Bales scored Crook County's first goal of the season, putting the Cowgirls up 1-0.
"It was fantastic," midfielder Meredith Cooper said of the Cowgirls' first goal of the season. "I can't describe to you how that felt. It really gave us a surge of energy. I think we've been waiting on that for a while, the first taste of (scoring), and we are going to have many more this season."
The Cowgirls had several more opportunities to score in the first half, but were unable to connect. Lakeview scored the tying goal with six minutes remaining in the half, then scored a go-ahead goal with less than two minutes left in the half.
The Honkers went up 3-1 with 23 minutes remaining in the contest. However, Crook County answered as Bales scored her second goal of the match, on a direct free kick, putting the Cowgirls just one goal behind with plenty of time remaining in the contest.
However, that was as close as Crook County would get as Lakeview scored a pair of goals in the game's final four minutes to pull away for the win.
"I think we got a little tired, we also got a little too hungry," Cooper said. "We know now what it felt like to get a goal and we were wanting more. I think now we just have to work through it as a team. We aren't just looking at it as a loss entirely. We got a goal and we were working together."
The Dalles improved to 1-0 in league play and 2-3-1 overall with their Thursday victory over Crook County, while Lakeview improved to 3-1 with their Saturday win. Meanwhile, Crook County fell to 0-1 in league play and 0-5 overall.
The Cowgirls are back in action today when they go on the road to take on Hood River Valley, 0-1, 1-4. The Cowgirls return home on Thursday when they host Pendleton, 1-0, 4-0. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.
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