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Strong second half powers Lady Buffs over Mazama in a game that ends in a 3-1 victory.

STEELE HAUGEN/MADRAS PIONEER - Jiana Smith-Francis heads in a goal during the Lady Buffs' 3-1 victory Sept. 19.The Madras Lady Buffs soccer team had a strong second half to help beat Mazama in a 3-1 away game victory Sept. 19.

Madras was down early, as Mazama was able to take a 1-0 lead. Before halftime ended, the Lady Buffs were able to score on a corner kick from Briseida Carlon, to Jiana Smith-Francis.

"Jiana had an absolutely beautiful header on a corner kick," head coach Shawn Darrow said. "Briseida crossed it in and Jiana scored on a flick header right into the top corner. It was one of the best goals I have seen. It was sweet."

Madras and Mazama went into halftime tied 1-1.

"In the second half, we opened up the field a lot more and had a lot more chances," said Darrow. "We played a lot smarter defense, marking up in the middle. That was a problem to start the game and we talked about it at halftime. We put it to them in the second half, linking up with players, finding open space, open players and that was great to see."

In the second, Carlon scored on an assist from Hannah Holiday. Carlon shot the ball on the right side of the box to the far left side of the net, giving the Lady Buffs a 2-1 lead.

Another goal was scored by the Buffs, that time by freshman Emily King, who was assisted by Carlon.

"Briseida dribbled the ball pretty far and hit her (Emily) on a through ball," said Darrow. "Emily made a great touch to put it back in the middle and then shot it by the keeper. It was awesome."

"It is the best I have seen with this group," Darrow said. "We came out a little slow, but that was to be expected because we didn't get a long warm-up and were on the bus for an extra hour and a half. It was rough once things got started, but once we scored that game tying goal, we played really well."

The Lady Buffs (2-2) are set to start league, and have a home game against North Marion (3-1) at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25. Madras also travels to Gladstone High School, taking on the Gladiators at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1.

"I feel confident that we can play with anyone at any day," Darrow said. "It is a matter of how well the girls execute and their focus, but if we come in focus, we can compete in every game and I feel good about that. I think these girls have already exceeded expectations in the sense that they are a young, experienced team."

"We came out 2-2 and we were right in there," he said. "Those games could have gone either way and it makes us believe that we can do well in the league and hopefully, get in the postseason for the third year in a row."

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