Panthers fight for a tie against North Salem

Ana Becerra keeps the ball away from the Vikings during the team’s Oct. 4 game against North Salem that ended in a 1-1 draw.

Jennifer Biberston
Ana Becerra keeps the ball away from the Vikings during the team’s Oct. 4 game against North Salem that ended in a 1-1 draw.

SALEM — The Panthers clinched a 3-1 victory on Oct. 2 against Lebanon (0-7-1 overall, 0-2-1 Mid-Willamette Conference), making it their third win of the season.

Julis Martinez nabbed two goals for the night and Yasmeen Ochoa posted one. Sophia Henke, Kaitlyn Dorn and Ana Becerra each contributed with assists on goals, and Cecilia Espericueta had 15 saves for the evening.

A 1-1 tie against the North Salem Vikings (0-7-2 overall, 0-2-2 MWC) on Oct. 4 put the Panthers (3-6-1 overall, 1-2-1 MWC) in the sixth spot in the Mid-Willamette Conference, bringing them a notch closer to the top five for a chance at playoffs.

The team still has a lot of work to do to get there.

“I expected a battle (tonight), definitely, but I did expect a little bit more from us,” Mariah Hyre said.

It was neck-and-neck throughout the game, with both teams working hard to advance the ball for a shot at a goal.

“I think we played together really well,” Henke said. “I think we could have played a little harder but I do think we worked together as a team. (The Vikings) really brought it; it was a good game.”

The Panthers’ lone goal came from freshman Martinez, when she found an opening in defense and took it.

Mabry kept the Vikings from scoring throughout the rest the night by nabbing 14 saves, and only allowing one ball to slip through her grip.

“It was a physical match,” head coach Mike Lynch said. “They bent, but they didn’t break. It could have gone either way; there at the last 10 minutes, we were there knocking on the door; we had quite a few opportunities, it just didn’t go in. I’m still proud of these young ladies. We just need top five in our league and we go to playoffs, and I think they’re gonna reach that.”

One way for the team to clinch a spot in the playoffs is to work better together as a team, Hyre said.

“Continuing to push up and playing as a unit, and not separate — like, not defense, mid-fielder, forward, like all together — and I think we did that tonight,” she said.

The team currently sits 1-2-1, a vast improvement from last year.

“We’ve already beat our season record from last year and the year before that, so that feels nice to be doing good, so just keep on keeping on,” Henke said.

The team hosts West Albany on Tuesday after press time.

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