Storm end their season with loss to Bellevue in first play-off match
By Emily Sisk
It was a tough way to end the season.
The Storm faced off against Bellevue in their post-season opener at Willamette on Nov. 5 and lost 3-1 despite many scoring opportunities.
The game started promisingly as the Storm players crowded the Bellevue box in the first minute, leaving the defense scrambling. Captain Taylor Waite then scored amid the confusion off an assist from sophomore midfielder Febe Samano.
Chemeketa dictated play for the first 15 minutes, confident with the early lead.
But the momentum started to shift toward the end of the half, and the Storm defense had a hard time keeping up with Bellevue’s physical and calculated play in the Chemeketa half of the field.
The equalizer came in the 40th minute after keeper Alyssa Flores left the box to make a save.
In the 46 minute, it seemed as if the Storm would lead again before halftime when a free kick floated across the face of the Bellevue goal with several Chemeketa players nearby. None was able to put a foot on the ball, and the opportunity was lost.
At the start of the second half, the Storm took the field with renewed purpose. Again, they dominated play for the first 15 minutes, keeping possession and standing their ground in the midfield.
Then, just as in the first half, Bellevue took over. The Storm had several counterattack chances off services into the Bellevue box, but no Storm players were near the goal to send it in.
Bellevue struck an arcing shot in the 60th minute from midfield that landed in the back of the net, bringing the score to 2-1.
The final goal came in the 76th when Bellevue shot the ball through the Chemeketa back line and past Flores.
The Storm had a couple of additional scoring chances but was unable to capitalize.
“While we were all very disappointed in not making it past the first play-off game, we tried to grasp the mentality of being disappointed for one day … and to wake up the next morning only to be proud of our season and teammates as a whole,” freshman midfielder Kim Ponce said later.
Although the final game may have been a disappointment, the 2014 season as a whole was largely a success for the Storm.
“As for how the season went, it was a huge improvement from last year when we finished dead last in our division,” coach Art Mota said.
The team started with a somewhat average non-conference play record of 3-2-4, but signs of improvement were quickly evident.
Mota said, “Playing four-year programs during preseason really paid off, and one of the highlights this year was beating Walla Walla on their field. That was the first time ever, men or women, that Chemeketa had defeated Walla Walla.”
Once conference play began, however, the Storm seemed to be hitting its stride, winning its three matches against Clackamas, Southwestern Oregon, and Pierce.
Chemeketa then lost its next match on the road against Lane, which would go on to become division champions.
Then came the gritty first game against Clark.
With time winding down, it seemed that the Storm would be handed another loss. But freshman forward Alex VanAmburgh tied the game in the 90th minute, and it ended in a 2-2 draw.
After beating Clackamas 1-0 on the road, the Storm faced off against Southwestern Oregon at Willamette. Chemeketa won 6-1, with Holly Martinez-Moorman leading the Storm with two goals and an assist.
Flores, meanwhile, took command of the net with 5 saves.
The Storm next played Pierce again, this time on the Penguins’ turf. Although Chemeketa had managed to win the first match 3-1 at Blanchet High School, this game ended in a 1-1 tie.
For its last home game, the Storm faced off against Lane at North Salem High School. As if playing the Titans wasn’t enough of a challenge, the match coincided with a windstorm with gusts of 40 to 50 mph.
The Storm couldn’t handle the stormy conditions and lost the game 2-0. The bright spot was Flores, who stood strong in goal and made 6 saves.
In the final match of the regular season, the Storm played Clark in Vancouver. The game started with an early Clark advantage when Storm keeper Alyssa Flores allowed a goal in the 4th minute.
The Storm lost the game 5-1, with the lone Chemeketa goal scored by Holly Martinez-Moorman in the 21st minute.
Flores finished the regular season with 102 saves.
Martinez-Moorman had 14 goals and 3 assists, giving her the best offensive stats on the team and ranking her 10th on the NWAC women’s soccer stat sheet.
Sophomore midfielder Febe Samano is in the top 50 with 5 goals and 5 assists, while freshman midfielder McKenna Kendall finished just off the top 50 ranking with 5 goals and 3 assists.
The Storm hope to take the momentum they’ve gained this season and expand on it in 2015.
“Something that we could improve on for next season is maintaining our focus throughout the entire season, throughout each game, and throughout each practice,” freshman forward Naomi Wasser said.
According to Ponce, the team will be enjoying the experience that they’ve shared together, proud of what they’ve accomplished, albeit with fewer players than most programs and injuries.
“We may have been a small team, but I am grateful for that now because it allowed us to become so close,” she said.