Lane blows away Storm; Chemeketa still headed to playoffs
By Emily Sisk Photos by Brad Bakke
The wind never let up, and neither did Lane.
On the road last Wednesday, the Chemeketa Storm came away with a 1-1 draw against Pierce. The result was fortunate: Pierce scored both goals, the first of which went into their own net.
Two of the Storm’s most level-headed players, freshman midfielder Kim Ponce and Captain defender Taylor Waite, also were handed yellow cards.
At noon this past Saturday at North Salem High School, the Storm faced two of its most challenging opponents: the first was Lane, which was in first place in the south division of the NWAC conference and ahead of the second-place Storm by double digits.
The second was the wind, which blew debris onto the field, made ball movement unpredictable, and gave clear advantage to whichever team was moving downwind.
Both of these obstacles, and the absence of Waite to a personal obligation, proved to be too much for the Storm, which lost its first home game in league play of the season, 2-0.
Lane established control in the opening minutes.
Following a corner kick in the 7th minute, an on-target strike forced keeper Alyssa Flores to punch the ball out of the box.
The first goal came in the 11th minute, when Lane located a strike in the back corner of Chemeketa’s net.
The score line failed to inspire the Storm’s play.
Many errant passes were made in the midfield, ending up either in empty parts of the pitch that were easier for Lane to get to or directly in front of Lane players.
Freshman forward Holly Martinez-Moorman made several runs but was either unable to get the support needed from her teammates in Lane’s half or lost the ball to the Lane defense before posing a threat.
Freshman midfielder McKenna Kendall was apparently well-scouted by Lane. Every time she attempted to make her preferred volleys from out wide, she was converged on by Lane defenders.
The Storm struggled as Martinez-Moorman and Kendall, Chemeketa’s most creative and prolific offensive players, were taken out of the game by the defense.
With the howling wind blowing toward the Storm goal, Lane continued to mount attacks. In the 23rd minute, Flores scooped up a rolling shot from a box full of Lane players.
Flores recorded another save when she caught a ball that was headed in during the 32nd minute.
The freshman keeper had six saves in the game, two of which were spectacular at point-blank range.
Lane took three shots on goal in the 41st minute. The half ended without the Storm making one.
When the teams switched sides in the beginning of the second half, Chemeketa had the wind in its favor.
The Storm’s first scoring opportunity came when Lane’s keeper left her line prematurely in the 47th minute, leaving an open goal. Martinez-Moorman’s shot rolled wide.
Kendall had her first shot on goal in the 51stminute, but the Lane keeper was able to make the save.
Kendall then changed tactics and started sending balls into the box from midfield, attempting to assist Martinez-Moorman.
With the Storm offense finally synching, the team was able to retain possession in the Lane half of the field and away from Lane players. Without the vocal leadership of Waite, however, the defensive line looked to be in disarray.
“We couldn’t make up for her absence,” Arturo Mota, the Storm’s head coach, said after the game.
Changing gears yet again in the 70th minute, Kendall stopped to serve the ball into the net from out wide. Instead, she tricked the Lane defense by making a run into the box and getting herself positioned in front of the goal.
Her clever effort went unrewarded after she lost the ball to the Lane backline.
In the 80th minute, Flores saved another shot on goal. A minute later, she was unable to stop the next shot and Lane 2-0.
The closing 10 minutes featured shot attempts by both teams, but all were easily handled by Flores and the Lane keeper.
Mota said the weather definitely made the game challenging, but Lane handled the adversity better than the Storm.
“I think in the end, they won because we let them off the hook,” he said.
“We had some early chances in that second half where we could have tied it, and there’s a saying in soccer: ‘If you forgive, you’re gonna lose.’ And that’s what happened to us.”
The Storm’s next game will be the last of the regular season. Kickoff is at noon on Saturday in Vancouver, Wash., against Clark.
The second-place finish in the south division means that the Storm clinched a spot in the playoffs.
Details of the post-season matchups have yet to be announced.