Corvallis — In the first game of a challenging non-conference schedule, the top ranked Crescent Valley Raiders faced #2 Churchill Tuesday afternoon. The Raiders started backup goalkeeper Anna Wilson against the Lancers, with their all-state starter out with an injury, presenting a potential challenge for the defending state champions only two games into the young season.
Early in the first half, Crescent Valley controlled the game offensively, getting multiple cracks at the net early. About a third of the way through the first half, Valerie Lending put a shot into the back of the net to get the Raiders on the board 1-0 on the 2018 state runner-up Lancers. Kaiya Leamy followed up with a goal of her own, making it 2-0 Raiders in front late in the half. The Lancers would finally execute on a defensive breakdown in the goal box with a few minutes left in the first half, with Emmi Freeman getting Churchill within 2-1 at the half.
Despite the momentum shift at the end of the half, Churchill would give up a goal less than a minute into the second half, as Bella Fries (p. fr-eee-z) put a beautiful shot in and made it a 3-1 game. After a period of scoreless, high defense that dictated most of the second half, Crescent Valley tacked on another goal and made it 4-1. In what essentially could be considered garbage time late in the game, Payten Gallagher cut the lead to 4-2 for Churchill, but the Raiders kept hold to a 4-2 win at home, opening a rough slate of games with a win over state runner-up Churchill.
Crescent Valley’s Bella Fries and Anna Wilson talked about the victory afterwards, discussing the performance, the season ahead, and preparation for Churchill. Fries talked about her one goal game and the team performance, “I think we played really, really well as a team, the defenders were doing great, and after a while I think we started connecting and breaking through their line.” On having backup goalie Anna Wilson starting, “I was confident with her, she was our backup keeper last year and I’ve played club with her before so she’s a pretty good keeper.”
Anna Wilson on preparing for Churchill, “I was just trying to remember their players number nine and ten, I was trying to focus on not letting them score and I was looking at it from a tactical position and how I would play against them last year in the midfield and take it into my position at goalkeeper.” On team expectations, “We are very confident we can get back to state, we know its going to be a battle and a long road. We are very confident in our team and our ability, and we definitely think we can get back there again.”