Girls Soccer Team Advances to Second Round of Playoffs


Clarion photo Irelin Barta

Junior Mason Bregoli (8) chases after the ball in a game against St. Mary’s Sept. 7.

No. 9 Cleveland advanced with a 1-0 victory over a No. 25 South Eugene team Saturday, Oct. 29 at the Cleveland stadium that proved to be well matched.

Neither team pulled away in the first half of the game, as Cleveland’s offense looked stronger than South Eugene’s, but their defenses were very evenly matched. Cleveland was aggressive, peppering South Eugene’s net with shots that narrowly missed, while South Eugene got two strong scoring chances from poorly timed Cleveland turnovers that left them open to breakaways.

Sophomore Lola Pierce, and junior Elsie Koehler drove Cleveland’s offense through the middle of the field, maintaining a possession advantage for Cleveland, and Pierce especially being aggressive with long shots. Pierce continually found ways to get just loose enough from South Eugene’s defense to put a shot near the net, with many missing just high or being easily controlled by the keeper.

Early on South Eugene’s counterattack looked very good, quickly pushing the ball back towards Cleveland’s end when they had possession, however they weren’t able to convert that possession into scoring chances.

The Axe did get the most threatening scoring chance of the half, when at 4:23, a ball deflected off a Cleveland defender towards the wide open right side of their box. Senior forward Sarah Money picked up the loose ball with space between herself and Cleveland keeper Lloy Bartolotti, but Bartolotti came up with a huge save as she ran out and challenged the shooter, deflecting the shot out of bounds.

With just five seconds left in the half, Lola Pierce ran through South Eugene’s defense and faced pressure in the box. While falling down she found Sarah Pender wide open on the left side of the box, and Pender had enough time to put a hard shot towards the top left corner of the goal. South Eugene keeper Liya Brooks turned away Cleveland’s best chance of the half, diving to her left and getting both hands on the ball.

At the half Cleveland had a possession advantage and had taken more shots, however South Eugene’s promising counter attacks and timely scoring chances showed their potential to score against the run of play.

The Warriors’ solution coming out of the half was to add heavily to their possession advantage. For the first five minutes of the half South Eugene was on their heels, and that resulted in two scoring chances in the box for Cleveland. The first was a long pass into the box by Pender that eventually found its way to Mason Bregoli, whose shot on goal was blocked by a defender. Another chance came when Rosemary Costa blocked a South Eugene clearing attempt, causing a loose ball near the goal line, however Brooks was able to control it.

Another way the Warriors found more offense was playing down the wing with long runs and more cross attempts. Defender Lucy Weinberg and Lola Pierce each had long runs down the left wing looking for crosses early in the half.

Finally, with 9:56 left to play, Cleveland broke the tie. Pierce ran wide around the right side of South Eugene’s defense and put a hard shot on goal from the right side of the net. Brooks was able to get in front of the low shot, but could not control it and the rebound rolled along the goal line to Amalia Galm who gave Cleveland the lead.

The Warriors resisted pressure in the final minutes, with four throw-ins for the Axe on Cleveland’s defensive side, as well as a corner with 3:44 left. When the shot off the corner was blocked, Galm helped protect the lead she gave Cleveland by running the ball all the way back to South Eugene’s goal and just missing the net wide.

Because of the time it took South Eugene to get back to attacking, their only other chance came with 50 seconds left. Off a throw-in deep in Cleveland territory, the ball found its way to Sarah Money on the opposite side of the box. Not exactly in a dangerous position, Money managed to put a hard shot towards the net, but it was blocked by Lucy Weinberg and Cleveland killed the rest of the time remaining.

Looking ahead to round two, Cleveland will face No. 8 Lakeridge, coming off a 3-2 win over McDaniel in round one. These teams met once before back on Sept. 20, with Cleveland prevailing 2-0. The match will be played at Lakeridge at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2.