ADAIR VILLAGE — Two perfectly placed shots and an outstanding save knocked the Santiam Christian girls soccer team out of the 3A/2A/1A state playoffs on Tuesday.
The visiting Lakeview Honkers scored once in each half to erase an early 1-0 deficit, then used a stout defense to eliminate the Eagles 2-1 in an opening-round game at SC.
Brette Graham’s goal in the 57th minute broke a 1-1 standoff and powered the Honkers (9-2-1) into Saturday’s quarterfinals, where they will meet Westside Christian. The loss snapped SC’s (9-4-2) six-game unbeaten streak and ended its season.
“Lakeview’s team speed got to us,” SC coach Wendi Farris said. “There are things we could have done differently, but the effort was there.
“Lakeview played a great game. We had opportunities late and weren’t able to finish. That’s how it works. We lost to a good team today. Hat’s off to Lakeview.”
The runner-up in Special District 5, Lakeview was rested and ready, as it came to Corvallis on Monday night after being idle since Oct. 21. SC, on the other hand, had just two days' rest after defeating Creswell 2-1 in a Special District 3 playoff on Saturday.
The Honkers controlled play early but found themselves trailing 1-0 when SC freshman Audrey Miller scored against the run of play in the 26th minute. After a throw-in from the left side, senior Kaia Bolster passed to Miller, who turned and powered a shot high into the left corner from well outside the 18-yard box.
“We like to work the ball in from the side and get it to the middle; we’ve been working on in practice and that’s what we did,” Miller said. “It was good to finish off that opportunity.”
Lakeview pulled even in the 33rd minute on a 30-yard direct kick from Samantha Nichol that snuck in just under the crossbar. The Honkers pulled ahead on Graham’s aforementioned goal, a right-to-left shot from distance that caromed in off the left post.
Miller nearly tied the game for a second time on a run down the left side with about 15 minutes remaining. Keeper Jesse Maita deflected her initial shot; Miller’s ensuing half-volley of the bouncing rebound went over the crossbar.
“That was an amazing save, she sprawled out for it,” Miller said.
Miller was one of four freshmen on a team almost evenly split between freshmen and sophomores (7) and seniors (9). The Eagles had only three juniors.
“It was an exciting season and I’m excited to get to play with everyone again next year,” Miller said.
Bolster and the eight other seniors concluded their prep soccer careers by exceeding Farris’ preseason expectations.
“We came a long way this year, and we have a strong core coming back,” Farris said. “If you would have asked me at the beginning of the season if we’d be here today, I probably would have said ‘no.’
“But they came together and played well.”