Ellie Boon and Megan O’Neill helped each other and the Washougal High School soccer team get back on track.
After suffering their first league loss of the season, the Panthers bounced back by beating the Woodland Beavers 2-0 Thursday. Boon scored the first goal on a pass from O’Neill. In the second half, Boon returned the favor by assisting on O’Neill’s goal.
“We’re always growing as a team, and as individuals,” Boon said. “At this time last year, we were fighting to stay above .500. This year, we’re 6-1 and you can see the confidence in the girl’s faces. It’s just so fun to watch these girls grow.”
After a heartbreaking 3-1 loss at Hockinson on Oct. 5, Boon and her teammates had a tough time holding back tears. Washougal failed to generate momentum on a shorter, grassy field until the final 10 minutes of the match.
“The heart that we showed at the end was really inspiring,” said senior defender Maddy Down. “Our wins and our losses bring us closer together as a team. Even though we lost, we still got better as a team.”
“I think we learned to always keep our heads up. Don’t quit,” added sophomore defender Lauren Gavett. “Even if you’re down early, it doesn’t mean you can’t come back.”
Two penalty kicks awarded to the Hawks proved to be the difference. Boon fired in a goal with about 10 minutes to go, and the Panthers were thirsty for more, but there was just not enough time left.
“I was happy to get one in. You could tell it lifted the team,” Boon said. “Had that goal gone in 10 minutes earlier, it would have been a totally different game.”
The first time Washougal and Hockinson met this fall, Boon scored three goals to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead. The Hawks rallied back with two goals, but Washougal held on for a 3-2 victory. On Oct. 5, Hockinson led 3-0 before the Panthers finally scored a goal. It should be interesting to see what happens in the rubber match, when Washougal hosts Hockinson Oct. 21 at Fishback Stadium.
“Next time we face Hockinson, we’re out for vengeance,” Down said.
“We look forward to facing them one more time at home,” Boon said. “One of my favorite parts in high school is when all our fans can come out and show their school spirit.”
Head coach Harrison Martin said the Panthers are determined to turn the loss to Hockinson into a positive. They made an important first step Thursday, by going on the road and beating Woodland.
“You could say we got a little too comfortable,” Martin said. “Everybody in the league has a loss. Now, it’s time to show who really wants it.”
Washougal hosts Mark Morris tonight at Fishback Stadium, in another important league match. Kick off is at 7 p.m.