MILTON-FREEWATER - The Pioneers came out on the up side of a 7-0 win against Riverside last week in Boardman.
But the rematch on Mac-Hi's turf Tuesday was a different game.
"That was a tough match and we played until the last minute," said Mac-Hi coach Martin Martinez of the Pioneers' 3-2 victory under the lights, clinched with 24 minutes of play left in the game off freshman Veronica Garcia. "I think the girls came into this thinking it would be easy like last time."
The Pioneers (3-0-1) opened scoring early, when Kariss Carrillo snuck behind Riverside keeper Daisy Navarro just over two minutes into the game.
But the Pirates weren't going to let the Pioneers run all over them again, and three minutes later, Fabiola Lopez found the net for a 1-1 mark.
That score held through most of the half, but with less than two minutes remaining, the visitors found gold again. Mac-Hi goalie Kalyn Odman made a save, but it slipped away and Lopez again made a connection for a 2-1 lead heading into half.
"We came out and showed what we can do," said Riverside coach Paul Keefer. "We got going on them.
"But Mac-Hi took control in the second half."
The Pioneers came back ready to control the game after the break, Martinez said.
Emily Childers scored the tying goal with 35 minutes to play from about 30 yards out, kicking a high ball that sailed easily into the right corner.
From then on, the Pioneers dominated. They made 13 shots on goal to Riverside's eight, and most of those eight came early the half or on penalty kicks.
And Garcia, playing with an injury, sealed it for the Pioneers with 24 minutes to play, although they kept looking for an insurance shot and Riverside never let up.
"Mac-Hi showed why they deserved to win," Keefer said. "We're a pretty young team and we lost pressure in the second half. But it was a good game. We achieved our goals. You didn't know who was going to win until the last minute. We didn't stop."
"We adjusted in the second half," Martinez said. "It was awesome."
Along with increased shots on goal and ball control, the Pioneers also improved their communication and defense, he said.
"They're still young. Our defenders - there's a freshman and a sophomore. We're working on (defense)," he said.
Another factor that impacted the game was playing under lights, Martinez said.
It was Mac-Hi's first game with the lights on for most of the duration, and that changed things, he said.
"They had to adapt," he said. "We'd never gone that long under lights before, and I don't think Riverside has lights at their field. It was definitely an adjustment."
But a win against the Pirates is usually a hard-earned one - and beating the same team more than once in a season is a challenge.
"Riverside used to be in our league, and it's always a good game," Martinez said. "So to get two wins against them is a big plus for us."
And when league play starts Saturday, the Pioneers will face each team three times.
"This was a good wake-up for them," Martinez said. "We can't take anyone lightly."
The Pioneers host Baker at 1 p.m. Saturday.