Blake Leamy couldn’t have asked for a much better start from his Crescent Valley High girls soccer team in Tuesday night’s OSAA 5A round of 16.
Emma Smith scored a goal and assisted on another and the Raiders jumped on St. Helens 2-0 in the first 14 minutes.
And while there were a few moments of frustration following that start, the Raiders did more than enough to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals with a 4-1 victory at Field of Dreams.
Crescent Valley, the No. 3 seed, will host No. 6 Ridgeview on Saturday. Ridgeview topped No. 11 Marist 2-1 on Tuesday to advance.
“For 20 minutes we played our best soccer I thought we have played all year,” Leamy said. “I thought we knocked the ball around and were not just running by them but pinging the ball around and looked the part.”
Smith agreed the start was just what the Raiders (13-0-1) had focused on heading into the game.
“We know we have the talent and we are all ready to put these games away and we know we can go far,” said Smith, who was named the Mid-Willamette Conference’s player of the year. “I think we came out and did what we needed to do. Just like Silverton, we put that game away really early.”
Smith scored in the seventh minute off an assist from Cali McClave. Smith then dribbled through the Lions defense and fed Sydney Berrey, who beat the keeper to the lower left corner.
Up so fast against a team that arrived just before the scheduled kickoff time due to being stuck in traffic, the Raiders let up just a bit, something Leamy addressed in the halftime huddle.
Smith admitted the Raiders weren’t as focused the final 20 minutes of the first half.
“I think once we get a couple goals up we can’t let down,” Smith said. “So we’ve got to keep that intensity high to keep the game rolling.
“Now that we’re in playoffs, these teams are going to want it just as much as we do or even more and they’re going to push it through the whole 80 minutes. So we need to learn to take that intensity that we’ve learned to have at the beginning of the game and follow through.”
Nicole Moore gave the Raiders a 3-0 lead in the 51st minute before St. Helens (7-7-2) broke through with Sarah Bjork’s goal in the 58th minute on a rebound shot.
“As soon as they scored I was yelling, 'do not put your head down,' because you could just see they were all riled up,” Smith said. “I think we took the right response and we just came out and said, 'no, this is our game and we are going to hold it to them.' We tightened up the back right away and I don’t think they had many chances after that.”
But the Raiders, who had given up just three goals all season entering the game, answered in the 61st on a goal from Amelia Wilson off an assist from McClave.
Leamy thinks allowing the goal will add fuel to the fire the next few days in practice.
“Peyton’s (Dale) given up four goals so she’s really not happy and the defenders aren’t happy because they take pride in that,” Leamy said. “I think that kind of ticked them off a little bit and I think that’s good for us going forward.
“We want to be stingy. I think if we keep being stingy on the defensive end, goals will come for us because we are really talented up front.”