Despite a strong win over Seattle 3-1, the Pilots must recover from their loss to Denver in time for WCC play
By Taylor Tobin, Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Women's soccer hopes to use their loss to Denver on Sept. 23 as a learning experience for the rest of the season, especially as they prepare to play the Cal -State Northridge Matadors at home Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.
Portland split the series last weekend-a 3-0 victory over Seattle on Sept. 21, followed by a loss to Denver, 1-3.
Junior forward Micaela Capelle got the team off to a strong start against Seattle, scoring in the 19th minute off a pass from junior forward Amanda Frisbie. The Pilots kept control throughout the game with junior forward Kaila Cameli extending the lead with two more connections in the back of the net for goals to wrap up the game 3-0.
Cameli followed up her scoring run with another early in the game against Denver, scoring her sixth goal of the season.
However, Denver scored three minutes later, and then twice more in the second half, sealing the Pilot's defeat.
"[The goal felt] good, I wish we could have held on, but we'll get the next one," said Cameli.
Three Pilot starters, juniors Kendall Johnson and Ellen Parker and sophomore Rebekah Kurle, were injured and unable to play in the game against Denver. Senior defender Taylor Brooke does not believe it played a big part in the loss last Sunday.
"Even though we have a small squad, we have a deep bench. I trust anyone who steps off our bench and comes onto the field," says Brooke. "It's really not that much of an issue."
Brooke adds that there was a special element to the team on Sunday, despite the loss: sophomore Emily Sippel's energy.
"She was honestly our spark today. When she came on the field she lit us up and helped us," said Brooke. "[She] definitely put a fire in our belly."
In Sippel's 37 minutes on the field, she made her mark-contributing three out of the six shots on goal during the game.
Cameli, like Brooke, has faith that all the players on the team can perform.
"We have a thin squad, but we have people who are able to play their positions," said Cameli.
When the team is slipping into a rut, Cameli gives encouragement to her teammates.
"Personally, I try to be as vocal as possible. I try to pull everyone up, because I know everybody else is struggling just like I am," said Cameli. "That's pretty much all I can do, give effort and see if everybody follows along."
Coach Garrett Smith believes the thin squad affected the outcome of the game against Denver.
"It's tough to take three starters continuously out of your line up and rely on freshman and players who aren't necessarily ready to play 90 minutes," said Smith. "That's what we had to do, and I think that's what today was an example of. But there's a million and one excuses and we've got to come out better than that."
Smith noticed that the players lacked a determined attitude in the game. He knows they can use the outcome as an element of learning.
"It's more of a mental approach. I think today was a wake up call for us," says Smith. "Our team learned a lot today about how to approach each and every game. As soon as the game's over, we leave it behind us and we try to learn from it."
Smith's goal after the Denver loss was to prepare for the game against the Matadors.
"A better performance and a better effort is one thing we can guarantee for Thursday," said Smith.
Cameli is focused on taking one game at a time. She plans to use Sunday's loss as a learning experience, and to keep her thoughts this week on the game against the Matadors.
Cameli's long-term goal, however, consists of three words: "Score more goals."