West Linn girls soccer stays hot, beats Grant 1-0
The coming battle in the Three Rivers League may be as tough as ever before, but the West Linn girls soccer team believes it's ready.
The Lions showed as much last week when they beat Grant 1-0 at the Grant Bowl on Thursday, Sept. 26, a result that marked West Linn's third straight win and fourth straight contest without a loss.
"We're feeling good," said West Linn senior defender Maddie Gross, who helped hold Grant to just two shots in the game (none on goal). "We've just got to keep practicing, keep up our fitness and stay on our game."
"I think we've definitely grown from our first preseason game to now and we're definitely not where we want to be yet," added West Linn senior midfielder Abby Schmidt, who scored the Lions' lone goal against the Generals. "But we're building off it and we keep getting better every game and every practice so we make the most of all the minutes we get in practice and games and just keep getting better."
With the win, West Linn improved to 4-1-1 overall, while Grant fell to 4-4-0 on the season.
While West Linn dominated from start to finish, the Generals were competitive and did a good job on their end of the field in limiting West Linn's chances.
After Grant keeper Karter Bryan-Hart stopped West Linn's first chance — a shot by senior Jill Brody seven minutes into the contest — the Lions broke through for the game's lone goal. West Linn sophomore Robin Brody started the scoring play when she made a long throw-in from the left side deep on the Generals' end of the field, Schmidt stepped forward to meet the ball and knocked a half volley past Bryan-Hart to the left post with 18 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in the first half.
"Robin Brody had a great throw-in that went over a few heads, I just saw the opportunity and got my foot on it and stuck it in at the left post," Schmidt said.
While the Lions wouldn't score again, it wasn't for lack of opportunity. West Linn sophomore Campbell Sheffield and senior teammate Emily Baltazar both had shots in the half's final seven minutes, but Bryan-Hart stopped both and the Lions took their 1-0 lead into halftime.
The Generals finally began to generate some offense in the second half, getting shots from both sophomore midfielder Caprial Loescher and senior midfielder Lauren Polte. But in each case, the West Linn defense and senior keeper Emily Weber were up to the challenge each time.
On their end of the field, the Lions got second-half shots from senior forward Kaylie Brown and junior defender Keegan Jackson — both stopped by Grant keeper Emma Hamdan — with Jackson's try coming on the end of a pair of great of passes that went from Sheffield to senior midfielder Rosie Larsen to Jackson with seven minutes remaining.
While the Lions would have loved to score again, they were nursing a couple minor injuries and tired legs from another game two days earlier.
"I thought we struggled a little bit in the first 10 minutes, but then we got a rhythm communicating more with our marks and shifting together," Gross said of the Lions' defense. "I knew we were tired so we decided to play to feet instead of playing our normal (style)."
"Coming into today, we had a few injuries that came up kind of last minute and we had some tired legs," Schmidt said. "But we knew that, so everyone on our team participated in this win today."
In upcoming games, West Linn plays Central Catholic at Delta Park's Strasser Field at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, then hosts Lakeridge at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8.
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