The Cottage Grove girls’ soccer (3-5-1) redemption tour is off to a successful start. With the second half of league play now underway – meaning they have already played everyone on their remaining schedule once – the Lions are trying to use this familiarity to string some wins together.
They did just that last Thursday when they got a 2-0 victory at home over Sisters, a team that they previously tied with this season.
Things started fast when in the second minute of the game the Lions went up 1-0. It started with Sawyer Weybright being dispossessed in the box to set up a corner kick for Cottage Grove. Payton Cameron hit a high flying ball through the box that bounced in front of the goal and found its way, untouched, to Annie Gibson who guided the ball to the bottom right corner to put the Lions up.
“The first five minutes… sets the tone and it lets the other team know that you’re here for business,” said head coach Reed Levings. “And that’s what I’ve been trying to tell the girls. Sisters travelled a really long ways; they wanted to beat us on our own turf so we had to come out to play.”
Cottage Grove continued to play with possession and besides a near own goal that sailed just over the crossbar off a Sisters corner kick, the Lions eased in to leading a game.
They found success again when in the 26th minute when a Sisters attack was stopped and the Lions attacked back which led to a Leticia Hernandez goal to put Cottage Grove up 2-0.
In the second half, the Lions continued to get multiple passes in a row and relied on their defense to put the game away. Sisters came out on the front foot to start the half. They were attacking early and often but the Lions stayed back and were able to take care of business on the backline.
In the 71st minute Gibson had the best chance of a goal on the half when she received the ball with a step on three Outlaw defenders. Her off balanced shot was stopped by Sisters goalie.
Despite wanting more goals, Levings was pleased with how her team looked and what it means going forward.
“We upped our level of play, definitely. Last time we played them it was pretty ugly. We weren’t connecting our passes and tonight we had quite a few good sequences in a row,” she said.
After having just one win in their first seven games, the Lions have now won two in a row and now sit in fourth place in the league standings.