Newberg — Who doesn’t like a little chaos to start their season? Tuesday night’s girls soccer clash between the Newberg Tigers and Sprague Olympians provided a little bit of everything, with both sides experiencing some highs and lows over the last few minutes of their opening game of the 2019 season, which eventually ended in a draw after some late game opportunities that could’ve won it for either side.
The first half featured several opportunities for Newberg and Sprague, but Kaile Reece and Caitlyn Graham were able to fend off the attempts, keeping the game a scoreless tie after a half of play. In the second half, more opportunities were afforded but the goalkeepers kept the game scoreless. Finally, in the 60th minute, Lezlie Guadarrama broke the tie for Newberg, putting the Tigers ahead 1-0 on a put back goal. In the 66th minute, Charley Donofrio tied the game up for the Olys, making it a 1-1 game on a shot that snuck through the Tiger defensively. The next eight minutes would create chaos and a wave of emotions affecting both sides of the game. In the 72nd minute, Newberg’s Ava White hit a floater over the top of Reece’s head, putting Newberg back ahead 2-1. However, Madalyn Neufield tied it again two minutes later on a rebound put back goal, making it a 2-2 game between the Olys and Tigers. The teams would be afforded a crack at putting each other ahead late, but saves from Reece and some too powerful shots by the Olys sealed the 2-2 draw, with a chaotic finish to what was a defensive struggle for majority of the match.
Exhausted, yet motivated, Sprague’s Madalyn Neufield and Charley Donofrio talked about the teams opening performance, and their team goals for the 2019 season. Neufield on the Olys late game performance, “I think as a team we did really good, we stepped into what we had been practicing, which is more intensity when we are down so I think we did really well on not giving up after their go ahead goals.” On where Sprague stands compared to where they want to be at this season, “We didn’t do to well last year so I know one of our goals was to get at least five wins total, and I think we are definitely on the road to that.”
Donofrio on her thoughts regarding the performance, “I thought we did really, really well about pushing back and moving forward when needed, I thought we all played really hard, our goalie had some great saves, and we had some good shots at the goal.” On the team’s youth, “We have a lot of sophomores this year and I think they all play really well, I feel we all play really well together. I think we started off pretty strong towards our five win goal like Maddie mentioned earlier.”
As for Newberg, Lezlie Guadarrama, Ava White, and Morgan Carsh all admitted while it might have been a win that slipped away, that its an improvement from last season. All three players talked about the team compared to last year, the game against Sprague, and the late game slip ups that led to a draw. White on the first game improvements from a year ago, “We were much better than last year, we really built in the offseason and brought it back. We lost last year and we tied them this year, so to me that’s a win for us moving forward, and watching us moving forward will show us how we build off of this. Even on Thursday, we’ll be able to play better because of this.”
Guadarrama on how much better the team is than last season, “I think we are much better than last year, last year we were losing games 6-1, 5-2, and I think we are going to do much better than last year for sure and we have a lot of good girls going forward. So I definitely think we’ll do a lot better than last year.”
Carsh on the late game slip ups, “I thought there were some mistakes with the crosses and making sure we stayed on our marks and not diving in. A couple of them could have been prevented had we just settled down and stayed in front of it, but the defense looks good it just needs to settle down a little bit.”