ILWACO — Katelyn Denny scored the only goal in Ocosta’s 1-0 win over Ilwaco on a supersaturated field Wednesday, Oct. 16.
After a day of heavy rains, the field was wet everywhere and flooded in multiple sections.
The regions in front of both goals were treacherous, slowing offense to a halt whenever teams attacked from the middle.
On passes the ball usually came to a complete stop rather than rolling forward. Miniature ponds were like water hazards or sand traps in golf; once it went in, players kicked furiously at it to try to get it out.
“The ball would just stop,” Sarah Frank said. But she enjoyed the experience. “It was awesome to play in (the conditions). I liked getting all in the water.” On defense, she said, “I tried to get them into a puddle, and then when it came out I’d take it upfield.”
Denny, who showed long-range scoring ability in Ocosta’s 7-0 home win over Ilwaco, got to a ball that had come to a dead stop and shot from about 20 yards rather than dribbling into the more treacherous terrain closer to the goal. She arced the shot in, breaking a scoreless tie in the forty-ninth minute.
Ilwaco got its best scoring chances going down the south sideline in the second half, a part of the field that appeared to play faster than any other.
“The ball didn’t want to move,” Elle Personius said. “It would come to a complete stop. You had to get a lot of air on the ball…and try to get it to skip in front of the goal, where defenders can’t predict where it’s going to go.”
It took a while for the teams to get any kind of a feel for how to navigate all the landmines.
Early on, as Ilwaco goalie Faith Richardson ran out and dived to stop a ball, Ocosta’s forward tripped over her. Ilwaco couldn’t clear the ball, which got behind Richardson before she could get up, and Ocosta players ran over to capitalize. But they slipped in the mud, and Ilwaco’s defenders regained control.
By the end of the half, Ocosta was figuring things out. But Richardson made a leaping stop to keep the game scoreless. A minute after Denny’s goal, Ocosta got the ball downfield again and Richardson stopped a hard line-drive shot from the side of the goal, though it was a moot point as the Wildcats were ruled offsides.
With under 10 seconds to go in the game, Justyce Patana created Ilwaco’s best opportunity, dribbling through defenders near the goal. But the wet ground forced her to slow down, and the Wildcats cleared the ball to secure victory.
Ilwaco, now 4-9 overall and 1-5 in league play, hosts Life Christian on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. and closes out the regular season at home against Toutle Lake on Monday, Oct. 28.
Napavine 4, Ilwaco 1
An Elle Personius penalty kick shortly before halftime was Ilwaco’s only goal in a 4-1 loss to Napavine Monday, Oct. 14.
Makensee Taliaferro scored three goals for the Tigers.