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Crater girls snap scoring drought against North Bend

Comets find the back of the net twice on senior day

CENTRAL POINT — The scoring drought lasted so long, the Crater girls soccer team had reached a point where they could do little else but laugh at their own misfortunes.

Since playing Springfield to a 1-1 draw on Sept. 18, the Comets went through five ensuing games without finding the back of the net. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, but their efforts weren’t translating to scores.

The same was true for 60 minutes of Saturday’s Midwestern League game, one that Crater dominated in shots on goal and possession, against North Bend.

This time, however, the Comets were finally rewarded.

In the 61st minute, Joslyn Sizemore dribbled up the right wing, reversed course and flipped a pass toward the middle where Kayleigh Gugliotta stepped into a shot, which took one hop and bounced past North Bend goalkeeper Brynn Buskerud into the corner of the net.

“I always try to think of it as, good things take time,” Gugliotta said. “So when we keep shooting, it’s going to eventually go in.”

Seeing a shot go into goal seemed to be exactly what the team needed in what was ultimately a 2-0 win — Crater’s first of the season — at Dutch Meyer Stadium on the Comets’ senior day.

Gugliotta, one of Crater’s three seniors, struck again just six minutes later, running behind the North Bend defense to track down a through ball from Addison Vranes and fire it into goal.

“Honestly, it was kind of just weight lifted off our shoulders,” senior Mia Tewes said. “It was just like, finally. It felt like we were kind of in a funk, like a curse. As soon as it hit the back of the net, it felt like the curse was over. Like a happy ending.”

The end result was the culmination of a relentless Crater attack that held 85% of possession and had a 23-1 shots on goal advantage over North Bend.

“We knew it was going to come,” Crater coach Bryton Kiger said. “We just tried to stay disciplined in our possession and understand that it was going to come. It was just a matter of time. It almost became funny at some point, like, ‘OK we’re hitting the crossbar, we’re hitting the uprights.’”

“Our main purpose today was to celebrate our seniors and really have a fun day,” Kiger continued. “We like North Bend a lot, we’re good friends with the coaches, so it was going to be a good day no matter what.”

For a large portion of the game, the Comets (1-4-4, 1-2-3 Midwestern League) showed plenty of promise as they pestered the Bulldogs’ defense and Buskerud in goal, but they simply couldn’t finish.

There was a stretch in the 33rd minute when Mary Nadauld, Gugliotta and Vranes all had shots in succession, the first two saved by North Bend (0-8-1, 0-5) and the third going wide of the far post. There were numerous corner kicks, most taken by Tewes, and later a chip shot from Tewes that hit the crossbar and bounced away in the 57th minute.

Those razor-thin margins between scoring and not wasn’t in the Comets’ favor for several games, but after Gugliotta’s goal, it was as if that recent history was forgotten.

“Since it was our senior night, there’s just an energy that we can’t capture any other game,” Tewes said. “I feel like that pushed us to strive to do our best and finally do the thing we haven’t been able to do almost all season ... and although I didn’t score, I’m so happy that my best friend had two goals.”

“We go out with a bang,” Gugliotta added.

Although Crater has struggled to score this season, the Comets have also been a tough team to score on. Goalkeeper Clio Andries had a mostly uneventful day in the net, but the freshman was pressed into action with five minutes left directly after Gugliotta scored her second goal.

North Bend’s Kyla Daniels found an opening in the Crater defense and had an uncontested shot on goal, which Andries got a hand on then recovered to keep out of harm’s way. It was Crater’s fourth clean sheet of the season.

“It’s huge for us morale-wise,” Kiger said. “We have been a really hard team to beat, but we have trouble putting the ball in the net. It’s kind of a double-edged sword there, but (the win) is huge.”

The Comets have two games remaining in the final week of the regular season at Ashland and Thurston.

“I think we’ll really take this momentum into the last two games,” Tewes said, “and hopefully we’ll find the back of the net in those games as well and pull out some wins against some really tough teams.”

Reach reporter Will Denner at 541-776-4479 or wdenner@rosebudmedia.com.

Kayleigh Gugliotta is rushed by teammates after scoring the first goal for Crater midway through the second half after dominating the game against North Bend with numerous 23 shots on goal. Denise Baratta / for the Mail Tribune
Crater forward Addison Vranes (13) gets ball control at the goal against North Bend defenders Kyla Daniels (8) and Angel Andrade (17). Denise Baratta / for the Mail Tribune