By Connor Laubenstein /// Staff Writer
For 89 minutes, they dominated. On a cold and gray Saturday morning the Lewis & Clark women’s soccer team took the pitch against conference foe Whitman College. The two squads would eventually battle for 110 minutes without either claiming victory.
After a gruelling first half of play, the Pioneers ran into the locker room, content with their primary efforts, but frustrated with the lack of compensation from the Whitman defense. With some crosses sent into the middle of the attack by Megan Ratfield (’16), the Pios had been knocking on Whitman’s keeper Haley Case’s door since the start.
The unyielding Whitman defense would, however, keep the score level at zero leaving the pitch after 45.
As the referee blew the whistle to commence the final half of regulation, an insatiable Pio offense resumed its attack. Finally, 64 minutes gone by, Haley Case would give in. Dribbling and deking her way past Whitman defenders, Emily Thompson (’16) ripped a shot from outside the box. The bullet aimed directly at the keeper,
Case had no chance of reigning it in, and had to resort to deflecting the shot elsewhere.
Ratfield swooped in on the rebound and pounded the back of the net, leaving nothing up to chance. The fierce goal electrified the home supporting crowd, and the women on the field began to feed off of the energy.
The game suddenly became theirs to win or lose.
Pio defense, led by a wall of four, did all that they could against the desperate Whitman strikers. As stated earlier: for eighty-nine minutes, they dominated.
With 44 seconds left in regulation, Whitman midfielder Danielle Audino booted a floating spinner of a shot from some thirty yards out. Pio keeper, Geena Fong (’15) sensed the impact of the shot as she began backing into her box. There was nothing to be done. Curling in at the last second, the ball smashed the back of the upper-left corner of the goal.
At 89:15, Pio supporters in the crowd were cheering for the inevitable Lewis and Clark win. At 89:16, the fans fell silent. Shock cast a shadow upon the players and supporters as the game would immediately go into extra time.
Again, pure domination in the attacking third rang true for the Pio women. Although this time, Whitman’s netminder Casey would be impenetrable. After the whistle blew ending both of the 10 minute overtime halves, the 1-1 draw was solidified.
Feeling more like a loss than a tie, the Pios shook the hands of their competitors and left the field perplexed as to what had occurred over the previous 20 or so minutes.
Although a win for the Pios would have had no effect on conference standings, as the season comes to a close, the women can’t help but feel a good opportunity had slipped through their hands.
This weekend the Pio squad put a cap on their productive season travelling on Friday to third-place Linfield College, and second-place University of Puget Sound the following day. A few points toward their conference standings this weekend will make a great statement on what good is to come from LC soccer.