Saturday, July 7, 2012

Spokane Shine snare late win against Eugene, keep playoff hopes alive

Tight contest decided by Shannon Lindsay, Kara Marbury and Averi Hallman | Facebook Gallery - Full Gallery
With both sides tied in the table and clinging onto postseason hopes, the Spokane Shine were saved by two fantastic plays from Shannon Lindsay and Kara Marbury in a 1-0 nail-biter against visiting Eugene Metro FC, who were officially knocked out of contention with Issaquah also posting an expected victory against winless Oregon Rush Friday evening (updated table below).

Defender Shannon Lindsay of the University of Montana made the first significant play nine minutes into the second half that loomed large in the overall result of the contest. A long ball up to the left-hand side of the box found Megan Marchesano, who saw Stephanie Busch coming out. Marchesano, looking for her second goal of the campaign, flicked the ball over Busch toward an empty net only to see Lindsay make a quick sprint and a miracle semi-bicycle kick effort to clear the high bouncing ball off the goal line. 

The match remained back-and-forth until the final quarter-hour when the Shine began to apply extra pressure, looking for the victory.

“About 25-30 minutes left – a tie was as good as a loss for us – so we started pushing players forward,” said head coach Jason Quintero. “We had to open up the game to get some more chances.”

The third in a series of fantastic opportunities for the Shine over the course of a minute-plus finally gave the Shine a chance to celebrate in the 79th minute as Kara Marbury, a 16-year-old striker out of Mead that committed to the University of Illinois this week, scored her first of the season. With the team already in the offensive third from the previous chances, midfielder Averi Hallman gathered the ball on the right side of the area and sent a solid ball inside the box to Marbury, who made an excellent near-post run and directed it past Elise Nord for what stood as the winner.

Jurgen Ruckaberle
Both teams came into the contest missing key players. Among them for the Shine were Chelsie Breen, Tseng Shu-O and Alyshia Madison, who has been called up early by the Navy. Shu-O, nursing a calf injury, is also not expected to play Sunday in Portland. Eugene, meanwhile, was short nearly all of its entire collection of college players for the match, relying on a squad that head coach Jurgen Ruckaberle said had only one collegiate player in the lineup. Four of the team’s eight scorers for the season were not in the mix.

The youthful visiting squad, however, acquitted themselves quite well and had two of the better chances in the first half. Caitlyn Jobanek, the team’s leading scorer with two goals, looked to be all alone going on goal in the 35th minute, but Brittney Conway, covering defensively on the right flank, made a great play to catch up to her and muscle the ball away inside the box.

With three minutes left in the half, Jobanek created another great opportunity with a cross that went over Busch to Macky Dennis, who sent her header over the goal.

While Marbury was the star up top late in the game, it was Conway of Eastern Washington University that was creating trouble for Eugene with run after run. One came 20 minutes into the match when she chased down a ball in the left corner and delivered a nice low ball into the box that Darci Smith sent narrowly wide of the far post.

Smith continued to also be a handful, particularly in the early stages of the second half. Within the first 30 seconds she got her foot on the ball, unleashing a 22 yard effort off the left corner of the area that narrowly missed the near post. In the eighth minute she fired another long-range effort from 28 yards out on the left that was missed by Nord, but rolled just inches wide.

Before anyone had a chance to relax from the near miss, Eugene had already taken the ball down the field on the play that was brilliantly saved by Lindsay.

Three minutes later it was Busch making a great save. Taylor Boyer got the ball on the right side and beat a Shine defender, giving her some space to let loose a long effort from outside the box that curled away from the keeper toward the far post, forcing Busch into a fantastic diving save.

A humble Marbury during intos
At the midpoint of the second half Marbury started to show signs of something special, launching a shot from 32 yards toward the upper corner of the far side that made Nord stretch out for the stop.

In the 72nd minute Eugene got its final quality chance to score when Emma Cooney sent a shot from inside the left side of the box that got past Busch, but rolled just wide of the near post.

That’s when Spokane took over. In the 78th minute things began to ratchet up as the goal neared. Hallman got the ball down the right flank, taking it into the corner, where just a couple yards off the endline she cut inside her defender to deliver the ball to Conway, who sent it just off the mark.

A minute later on the opposite side of the goal, Lisa Robertson drove up the endline, beating a defender and sending through a ball that flashed across the goal mouth teasingly aching to be buried. But before the crowd could fully lament the missed chance, Hallman gathered the loose ball and found Marbury for the winner.

With six minutes left the Shine nearly doubled the lead off of a throw-in deep in the forward third that found its way to Robertson after a series of quick touches. The former Scottish youth international again beat a defender on the endline, but this time picked out Marbury coming up the left side of the box. The low delivery was perfect, but the goal scorer missed out on her second. With a defender right on her shoulder she was only able to redirect the ball just wide of the near post.

“I thought we worked really hard together; proud of the team,” said Robertson after the match. “I thought Kara had a good game and deserved her goal for her hard work. And Brittney ran her socks off and created great space for others. They both done a great job up top for us as well as Darci, who done well to link the play and win the balls in the air.”

... Additional report with thoughts of both coaches coming Saturday.


Issaquah dominated at home versus the winless Oregon Rush, posting the biggest victory in the division this season with an 8-0 result. Joana Houplin scored three times to give the hosts a 5-0 halftime advantage, moving into second in the division in scoring with five goals. Arica Slawson got her second of the year also in the first half with Maylee Attin-Johnson striking once in each half to open her account for the year. Shawna Anderson added her second of the campaign in the 85th minute and Kaua Wall tallied the first of her season with two minutes left. - MORE (with photos)

Only two more games are on the slate for the weekend. Oregon plays its second in the greater-Seattle area, taking on Emerald City FC Saturday. On Sunday, the Shine travel to Portland looking to avenge the 2-0 loss they suffered in Spokane two weeks ago.