Corvallis — Its windy, its cold, its fall, its conference championship time in Oregon’s high school sports sphere. On Tuesday, the West Albany Bulldogs and Corvallis Spartans met on a windy, 40 degree-ish night in Corvallis with a conference title on the line and one last tough test before the state playoffs begin on Saturday.
The first half was a hotly contested one, as most of the action throughout the first ten minutes occurred in the midfield and top of each team’s territory. In the 21st minute, the Spartans broke through on the scoreboard when Indigo-Martin Llinas drove a free kick into the goal box and was poked in by the Spartans, making it 1-0 Corvallis halfway through the first half. With Corvallis in control offensively, the Bulldogs make a late surge in the first half with a beautiful shot that scored past Corvallis with only nine seconds left in the half, knotting it up 1-1 and handing momentum to the Bulldogs at the break.
Corvallis may have given up the lead, but they still had plenty of momentum and fire to open the second half. The Spartans firmly controlled the ball on offense, which came in handy for Anna Dazey to drill a shot to the far left net, a great shot that got the Spartans back in the lead 2-1 in the 49th minute. After some more offensive action, still controlled by Corvallis, Lily Ruiz heard a calling to make the play for the Bulldogs, and with some fancy footwork and patience she knotted up the game past a diving Corvallis goalkeeper in the 67th minute. The Spartans wouldn’t stay down for long as less than a minute later, Dazey made it a brace and a Corvallis lead with a netter in the 68th minute, giving the Spartans the lead for good 3-2 and a conference championship for the second year in a row.
Spartan goal scorers Marcella Allen and Anna Dazey talked together about the Spartans accomplishment, prepping for the playoffs, and their message to the rest of 5A. Before I get to those quotes, Allen had an interesting soundbite that she dropped about some pregame banter by West Albany Coach Erik Idhe, “Their coach even told our coach before the game that, “You showed us up at our senior game last year, and we’re here to do the same thing to you.” So they were talking trash from the beginning.”
Anna Dazey on going deep into the state playoffs, “We’ve proven that we have what it takes to be a state title contender and we just need to bring it every game, be our best, know that we have it, and act like that we have it.”
Marcella Allen on their message to 5A, “We’re hungry, we’re strong, we’re confident, WATCH OUT!”