PRIEST RIVER — It’s rare that you get to see a team rally from the dead to tie or win a game that seems lost. That’s what Priest River players, fans, and coaches got to witness here Aug. 29 when the Spartan girls soccer team came back from a huge 4-1 second-half deficit to tie St. Maries in the last minute of play, 4-4. Head coach Shannon Fraser credited her players for not giving up.
“Nothing makes me more proud than I was to see my girls fight the entire game, heads up, and then earn the reward of the tie they deserved.”
Shayla Martinez gave Priest River an early 1-0 lead thanks to a goal in the 5th minute. Fraser said, “St. Maries thought they heard a whistle when she went by and she beat the keeper. The ref did a great job and brought out his spare whistle, prepared, so there wouldn’t be any other questions.”
St. Maries ended the half ahead 2-1 thanks to goals by Janna Oelke in the 10th minute and Bethan Suchowski in the 31st minute.
Fraser said the Spartans’ “possession has never looked so good” as it did in the second half. Unfortunately, St. Maries added to their lead courtesy of goals by Alena Davenport in the 45th and 61st minutes. However, Hannah Brengle made her way down the pitch past two defenders to nail a goal that made the score 4-2. Fraser said Brengle “played her best game yet and showed us speed we haven’t seen in a game before.” Teammate Karah Fink matched Brengle’s effort with a goal of her own in the 76th minute thanks to an assist by Keona Brown. The Spartan girls worked the ball down into the St. Maries defense with little time to play and earned a corner kick. Brown’s corner kick was perfectly placed for Brengle, who racked the shot past St. Maries’ goalkeeper to equalize the game and earn a 4-4 final score.
Fraser also gave credit to goalie Lillith Hernandez who made 11 saves.
“Our defense made 17 game changing saves. They held together as a back line that is forming strong bonds the longer they play. Where St Maries and other team have majority of their starters as seniors and juniors, we started 5 freshmen, 5 sophomores, and a senior. We will get become more United as the season and time goes on to be the team to beat.”
First half — 1, PR Martinez, 5:00. 2, SM Oelke, 10:00. 3, SM Suchoski, 31:00.
Second half — 4, SM Davenport, 45:00. 5, SM Davenport, 61:00. 6, PR Brengle, 66:00. 7, PR Fink (Brown) 76:00. 8, PR Brengle (Brown) 79:00.
Shots — PR 16, SM 15.
Saves — PR, Hernandez 11. SM, Jenna Holder 12.