Oregon City forward Bree McCullough drilled a shot from 20 yards out into the back of the Clackamas net in the 65th minute, lifting the Pioneers to a 1-0 non-conference girls soccer road win Thursday at Clackamas High School.
Oregon City goalkeeper Nova Ceperich turned back everything Clackamas put on goal, including Jocelyn Sanchez's shot from inside the 6-yard box in the 62nd minute, to help the Pioneers (2-3-1) snap a four-game winless skid.
"We kept fighting and that was the best part," Ceperich, the senior keeper, said after registering her third shutout of the season. "It was slow at the start and it took us some time to get our confidence up front, but once we were there, we were there.
"We started taking shots, and even though they didn't go in, it's like you start thinking that the net one might go in or the next one. It was really exciting stuff. As a keeper, I was more anxious than frustrated, like on my toes going, 'Let's do this! Let's do this!'"
McCullough, the Pioneers, sophomore, finally found a soft spot in the Clackamas defense, taking a pass from Alexa Dissen as she split two Cavaliers' defenders on a transition rush.
As McCullough broke behind the last line of defense and Clackamas keeper Tabitha Parsons charged off the goal line to challenge, McCullough banged a left-footed shot went past McCullough and inside the left post.
"I got the ball and I was cutting to my left and then I shot it with my left and it curved it the goal," McCullough said. "I didn't pay attention to where I was on the field. I was just trying to score."
Two minutes later, Oregon City almost added to the lead when Dissen again set up McCullough for a shot from the top of the 16-yard box that sailed wide right of the mark.
Clackamas (1-4-1) had two good scoring chances at scoring an equalizer, but Cecilia Coca-Aitken let go of a shot that went high in the 68th minute, and then the Cavaliers had a corner kick in the 70th minute that went nowhere.
"We were hoping for a better result than that," Cavaliers assistant Gary Maass said. "I thought we came out really strong and really intense, but the intensity kind of dropped off a little bit as the game wore on."
In the 62nd minute, Clackamas' Kyla Sullivan made a run down the left side and carried the ball almost to the end line before sending a cross through the box to Sanchez near the far post. Sanchez settled the ball then took a shot with her right foot, drilling it right at Ceperich's head.
Ceperich got her hands up just in time to make the save, keeping the score knotted at 0-0.
"That play scared me," Ceperich said. "I saw her (Sanchez) there and I knew as soon as she settled the ball, it was coming at me.
"There was a group of girls to my right, so I figured she was either going to my left or just a little to my right, and I was like, 'All right, I've got this. Whichever way it's going, it's mine.' Then it came straight at my face, flying. It was going so fast, if my hands weren't there, I might have been knocked out."
A few minutes later, the Pioneers had a 1-0 lead and held on from there to snap an 0-13-4 winless streak in their series with the Cavaliers.
The last time Oregon City won a game against Clackamas was on Sept. 16, 2008, when the Pioneers won 2-1 at Clackamas.
"We finally put together a full game," Oregon City coach Marshall Brewer said. "I was able to rotate different players at different positions because we have some depth. We're young, but we're deep, and that helped us.
"It's didn't matter what squad we had out there, everybody performed and it was good to see them take the things we work on in training and put it to good use in a game."
By Jim Beseda
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