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The junior midfielder nets two goals en route to Glencoe's first win of the season.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Glencoe's Alexis Magdaleno takes a penalty kick in the first half of the Tide's game against Canby Thursday, Oct. 3, at Hare Field.All wins are not created equal.

Last season, the Glencoe Crimson Tide girls soccer team won the Pacific Conference and entered the postseason ranked 12th, loaded with senior talent and poised for a third consecutive run deep into the OSAA state playoffs. That run however ended before it really started, as the Tide were upset by the Canby Cougars in the playoffs' opening round, ending their season and a decorated senior class' career far earlier than expected.

Fast forward a year and you have a different team, with a new coach, playing against that same Canby squad. Result? A win for a previously winless Tide team building anew from the ground up.

"It's very exciting," Glencoe midfielder Alexis Magdaleno said. "We've worked our butts off and we've come so far from the beginning of the season. We came together and I'm hoping we'll get more wins in the future, and I'm so proud of my teammates. It was a real team effort."

First year head coach Jory Shene was all smiles after the game, proud of his team and what he said he's seen slowly coming as the squad's gradually improved over the first month of action.

"It feels great," Shene said. "Our last two games were ties, and Union was a really good team, so I told the girls to keep that momentum going. We're getting better every game and this was the time to get that first win."

Glencoe was 0-5-2 prior to the game, which is unfamiliar territory for a program accustomed to success. The Tide were a combined 33-11-5 over the last three seasons, and advanced to the state playoffs in each, peaking with a semifinal berth in 2018. But with 13 of those players lost to graduation and coach Josh Richards no longer at the helm, it's a new era of Glencoe girls soccer and one that's essentially back to square one.

"It's tough, and as a competitor it's tough to take a loss and even tougher to lose multiple games in a row," the coach said. "But I told them that this is a growing period and time for them to understand what I'm about as a coach, and me to get to know these girls and how they play. We've got girls that bring a lot of different things to the table and it's been really neat to see them bring it every game and work as hard as they could. That for me is what it's about."

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Glencoe junior midfielder Lizzy Merkel battles a Canby defender during the first half of the Tide's game against Canby Thursday, Oct. 3, at Hare Field.The Tide got their first goal against the Cougars when Magdaleno netted a penalty kick in the 15th minute. The junior calmly awaited the whistle, took a deep breath, then blasted a shot up and away from Canby goalie Halle Adair to give Glencoe a 1-0 lead.

Penalty kicks are often considered easy by the layman, but to players and educated observers, the presumed freebie can often cause anxiety based on the matter-of-factness of it all.

But not to Magdaleno.

"Actually, nothing was going through my head," she said. "I just tried to clear my mind and try to focus on making the shot."

Canby drew even with just 1:24 remaining in the half, when Cougar Ellie Kromer controlled a second ball off of a Canby cross, then punched a shot home from inside the Glencoe 18-yard box to lock the score 1-1.

Shene emphasized a heightened level of aggression at the half, and preached the need to limit corners in the second stanza. Both teams brought an increased level of intensity to the final 40 minutes, and Glencoe capitalized, getting a second goal from Magdaleno, this one a nifty long range shot off of the outstretched hands of Kromer from roughly 35 yards out.

"We were able to find a cross in, we won the second ball, dropped it off and sometimes you hit that 25 to 30 yard ball," Shene said with a smirk. "It was beautiful."

Magdaleno seemed more surprised than anything else.

"I did not think it was going to go in whatsoever," she said. "I stood there and watched it, and when it went in I was in shock."

From there it was a matter of playing in control, denying Canby quality shots, and playing out the clock in what would ultimately be the Tide's first win — often easier said than done.

"It was the longest couple of minutes I've ever played," Magdaleno said. "But we stuck to it and got the win."

Now, on the backs of a couple ties and a much needed win, Glencoe hopes to continue growing as a team, continue improving, and continue doing what they do best — help each other along the way.

"We have a lot of new bodies and we're trying to figure them all out," Shene said. "It's hard to lose games, but I'd have given anything to get this type of passion and commitment from my teams in the past. These girls play for more than themselves, and that's a beautiful thing to see."

Glencoe opens league play at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 7, at Hare Field.

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