|Eliane Sauve (L) put Carroll up early, but Pajimola (C) proved too much | Photos: Gerald Barnhart - GALLERY|
Carly Herald received the ball just right of center on the offensive end of the midfield and paused in front of her defender to allow Casey Weyhrich to make her run from behind up the right flank before dishing the ball out diagonally up the right side. Whitworth back Sarah Mickelsen peeled off of Herald to track Weyhrich inside the box but the she had to make up allowed Pioneer forward to send the ball across the six. Ally Rotolo got to the ball first at the center of the six only to see her shot stopped by a fantastic reaction save from Andrea Stump, but the rebound fell to Eliane Sauve for the easy finish.
“We got numbers down on the backside,” said Whitworth head coach Jael Hagerott. “Usually we are the ones that we generate the problem, but they capitalized on it. It’s something that we’ll have to go back on the tape and watch. Definitely something we’ll address.”
Five minutes later Weyhrich nearly had a goal herself when a cleared ball was headed directly to her from inside the box by Mickelsen. Weyhrich wasted no time in launching a shot from about 30 yards that narrowly went over the goal.
Momentum began to shift toward the Pirates’ favor with about eight minutes left in the half as they began to mount pressure on the Pioneers goal on a regular basis. The best chance came with about seven-and-a-half minutes left when a low ball was played diagonally into the box to Pajimola, but the striker was unable to fully get her boot to it with her diving attempt from 16 yards.
Aside from a long shot from Carroll’s Sam Gavin that missed the crossbar by inches in the 75th minute, the second half belonged to the Pirates as they began to find more and more space as the game wore on and the Pioneers wore down.
Her opening goal in the 63rd minute, however, came from a bit of fortune as Kristin Wucherer was able to capitalize on a mishandled ball in the left corner just outside the area, dispossessing the Pioneer defender and quickly sending the ball central to Pajimola, who calmly took a touch on the ball and picked her spot just inside the left post out of Patterson’s reach from about seven yards.
“We were blessed that they sort of stumbled over the ball for us there, but full credit to Kristin in that she pursued it to the end, stripped her out and played a beautiful ball back,” said Hagerott.
They goal that stole the show on the day though was the winning strike in the 74th minute that was finished just as beautifully as it was brilliantly created. Playing up the right side Hannah Bokma (Spokane, WA) played a short ball forward to DeNae Vandam (Missoula, MT - pictured above, right), who angled herself nicely to chest the ball down into the path of Pajimola, who proceeded to use her track speed to drive down the field into the area. Once she crossed into the box she looked up and propelled a perfect strike that soared over the keeper from about 17 yards out into the far side netting.
“Very nice,” Hagerott said of the goal. “It is something - as we can get, those are the types of runs we are trying to get the girls to understand. When they happen, they work well. It’s just that we could use those many more times in the game. So, it’s continuing to tell them, ‘hey this is what we want;’ and that one they executed very well.
The sophomore striker from local Shadle Park High School could have easily had three or more on the day. Eight minutes earlier a dangerous ball in from the right corner by Bokma was barely out of the reach of her boots as she flew into the six. In the 83rd she had a glancing header that rolled barely by the far right post and less than a minute later she sent a long shot from the left side wide of the far post again.
Even though she missed out on a hat-trick, Pajimola still finished the holiday weekend with four of the team's five goals in three victories.
Molly Smith (Missoula, MT) also came close in the final minutes, firing a shot from the middle of the box in the 88th minute that Patterson dove to stop, getting just enough hand on the ball to stop its momentum for her to snare after coming to the ground.
“It was very good. Actually I was happy that we were – I mean you can’t be happy; but that we were 1-0 down at halftime presents us with a situation we haven’t been in, so the team had to deal with it. So, that was good for us in preparation for the season,” Hagerott said of the comeback. “Two beautiful goals by Pajimola; team effort to build up to that,so pleased with comeback.”