Salem — South Salem and Southridge provided a tightly contested matchup on Friday afternoon, as both teams looked to build upon their season opener from earlier in the week. South Salem entered at 0-1 after being drubbed by 5A #1 Wilsonville 6-0, while Southridge dropped Century 3-0 to open the season.
The first half featured plenty of play in the neutral zone, with both teams squirming to gain an advantage early on in the game. Southridge settled in before South Salem, eventually seizing offensive control for a good amount of the first half. It would be the Lady Saxons who would draw first blood on the scoreboard, as Perla Espino Martinez drilled a shot from the top right side of goal box past a diving Julia Pinnell to make it 1-0 South Salem in the 23rd minute.
Playing from behind, Southridge put the offense into overdrive and found an opportunity in the 26th minute when Marilyn Ramirez found herself 1v1 with Maggie LaPray, drilling the netter and tying the match at 1-1 entering the half. The Skyhawks and Lady Saxons both had offensive opportunities, but collapsing defenses kept the odds of a goal score pretty low.
Things started evening out on the offensive end in the second half, as the Lady Saxons began to find their rhythm and produce opportunities to score, subsequently slowing down the Southridge offensive attack. Both teams had opportunities at the net, just to be denied by the goalkeepers themselves or from shooting a bit high or wide. With about 16 minutes remaining, Mya Fry got loose and had a 1v1 opportunity with Pinnell, drilling the shot into the bottom left corner of the net to put South Salem back in front 2-1 late in the game.
Again trailing, the Skyhawks came out more fierce than ever, putting the Lady Saxons on their heels and going all in offensively. Southridge had a golden opportunity with about five minutes left to tie up the game, but the 1v1 chance landed directly in the arms of LaPray and South Salem would fend off Southridge to pick up their first dub of the season 2-1 over the Skyhawks.
South Salem looked better than they did in the Salem Jamboree, they seemed more coordinated and executed better against Southridge. The offense still found itself sputtering during long periods of the game, but the defense stepped up to the plate to protect LaPray and limit quality chances for Southridge. The Lady Saxons didn’t really have much of a chance to show much with Wilsonville, so in their first true chance of the season, they definitely looked improved and it seems to be about getting the offense going more consistently.
Southridge played better than South Salem on both the offensive and defensive ends, but it ultimately came down to lost opportunities. The Skyhawks had plenty of chances above the box and even a shot directly at the goalkeeper, but they nonetheless couldn’t come through. Southridge can use work on their rebound opportunities on both sides of the ball, along with their offensive execution in transition, look to get more play opportunities than just a bad look in a crowd of defenders. If they can smooth things out, Southridge has the capability of doing good things in 2021.
South Salem (1-1) play North Salem on Tuesday, Southridge (1-1) hosts Forest Grove on Tuesday.