MILTON-FREEWATER — The Mac-Hi girls soccer team played La Grande to a 1-1 tie here Thursday afternoon at Shockman Field.
The Pioneer girls are 3-0-1 in the Greater Oregon League; the Tigers are 2-1-1.
The Mac-Hi girls started quickly, firing off five shots (two on goal) before the six-minute mark.
The Tigers, however, broke through with the game’s first goal on their initial scoring opportunity at the eighth minute.
A 20-yard shot by Samantha Densmore sailed high in the air, tipping off goalkeeper Kayln Odman’s hands and into the net to make it 1-0 Tigers.
The Pioneer defense toughened after that, limiting the Tiger offense to just one more shot in the first half.
"The defense played really well," Mac-Hi assistant coach Les Wright said. "The girls really came together to protect our side of the field."
Mac-Hi kept up its offensive attack, keeping the ball down at the Tiger side of the field for most of the first half. But the Pioneers were unable to score.
The Pioneer girls took 15 shots in the first half, forcing Tiger keeper Hannah Moore to make seven saves.
"The Tigers goalie (Moore) really had a great game," Wright said. "She stopped us many times when she needed to do so."
The Pioneers kept pushing the ball down field early in the second half, putting four of their nine shots on goal before finally putting one in the net to tie the score in the 26th minute.
Andrea Roeder had the assist as Micaela Epifanio put the ball into the La Grande net off her hip.
Mac-Hi managed seven more shots, five on goal, through the rest of the game, but the Pioneers weren’t able to break the tie.
A controversial call came in the last two minutes of regulation. A shot by Roeder may have hit the hand of a Tiger defender, which would have given the Pioneers a free kick inside the box, but the call wasn’t made.
"We thought maybe we should have had a free kick, but it wasn’t called and the opportunity was lost," Wright said.
The Pioneers got off one more shot after the no-call, but Belen Betancourt’s 20-yarder was caught by the La Grande keeper.
The Tigers mustered just two shots, one on goal, in the entire second half. One was at the 10-minute mark and the other in the 22nd minute.
"We were really strong defensively. We outshot the Tigers by a great margin," Wright said. "As a team, we need to work on finishing our shots and putting them into the goal. And we will work on that and get better with time."
The Pioneer girls play again Saturday in Ontario in another Greater Oregon League match.