Clark women’s soccer team defeated Lane Community College 3-2 on Oct. 12 at Kim Christiansen Field, clinching playoff berth with 9-0 record to date.
Last year, Clark finished the season undefeated with nine wins and three ties, but lost the division by one point in the standings to their southern neighbors, the Land Titans, who won 10 games, lost one and tied one.
“It was a heartbreaker for us,” said Clark defender Abby Bohn about last year’s results. “Now we’re looking farther. We want to do really well in the NWAC tournament and go far.”
Despite nearly half the team consisting of new players, expectations were set high this season. Several games threatened the women’s 9-0 record, like the 5-4 victory against the Walla Walla Community College Warriors, but the Clark women held strong throughout the season and defeated their opponents by an average of 3.7 goals per game.
“This year we are definitely better as a whole,” Bohn said. “We all have really good chemistry on the field and everything kind of flows better than it did last year.” That chemistry, along with the team’s skill, was tested during their first game against the Lane Titans, who also held an 8-0 record.
After the opening ceremonies, a salute to the nation’s flag and a few fist bumps among team members, the game against the Titans began.
The first goal came in the 28th minute when Clark midfielder Ellie Quercia shoveled a pass behind the Titan’s defense, giving forward Molly Joyce a perfect chance for a quick strike, beating the Titans’ goalkeeper. The Penguins continued dominating the Titans’ defense all the way through the first half.
Clark’s second goal came at the 48th minute executed by the same duo of Quercia and Joyce.
Down 2, the Titans started to press harder against the Penguins. The Titans found their first score in the 80th minute with the second goal only a minute later. With the game tied 2-2 the Penguins commenced one final push leading to a penalty kick right outside the Titans’ goal box. With the game on the line, the whistle sounded and the kick was up, heads turned to see midfielder Rylee MacDonald deliver a header directly past the Lane goalkeeper, sending Macdonald and her fellow teammates into a frenzy. The Clark women’s soccer team won the game by a score of 3-2.
The win against Lane handed the Penguins their seventh straight victory and put them at the top of the southern division, a better position than last year. “They showed great heart, especially with that goal at the end,” stated head coach Sean Janson with a big smile. “I feel great, amazing! We never backed down,” said Clark’s mid position player Rylee MacDonald.
This is by no means the end of the season; the Penguins still have their work cut out for them. Clark will face the Titans again Saturday in the final game of the regular season. The next match against Lane, which will be played in Eugene, will likely determine the southern division champions.