A hat trick from Grace Toney, goals from Ashley Hillman, Peyton Gardner and Katelyn Jolley and a saved penalty kick helped Bend notch its second win in a row and fourth of the season.
The Lava Bears had their way with Central Catholic of Portland, scoring three goals in the first half and adding three in the second to cruise to a 6-1 nonleague girls soccer win on a crisp Thursday afternoon at 15th Street Field.
“We played really well,” said Bend coach Gavin Meyers. “We had a checklist of all the things that we wanted to do and we knocked them all out.
“We wanted to play aggressive, win balls in the air, get to the goal line, and put them in the net and make sure we crash the goal,” Meyers added.
After several near goals, Bend broke through with a goal in the 18th minute when Liliauna Lucas found Jolley, who snuck the ball past Central Catholic goalie Megan Grant to open the scoring.
The Lava Bears were just getting started.
Twelve minutes after Jolley’s goal, Hillman extended the lead with an assist from Jayna Rogers. Right before halftime, Toney scored her first goal off an assist from Jordan Stoner.
While Bend (4-2) dominated the first half, the Rams (0-4) got a little frisky in the early stages of the second half. When Jamie Hartnell scored in the 48th minute, it was Central Catholic’s first goal of the season.
The Rams nearly doubled their scoring output when Bend defender Emma Toney’s slide tackle in the 18-yard box gave them a penalty kick with a chance to make it a one-goal game.
The shot attempted, however, was denied by Bears goalie Jenna Cornett, who guessed correctly and stopped the ball with a diving save to the right.
“She’s awesome,” Meyers said of his senior goalkeeper. “We always say she’s going to give us a second chance so that’s what she did.”
The save swung momentum back to Bend’s side as another scoring surge ensued.
Grace Toney netted her second and third goals 11 minutes apart, in the 61st and 72nd. Lucas and Megan Ruby had the assists.
Finishing shots had been a struggle for Toney this season, but not against the Rams.
“I was really excited because I’ve been working on it a lot all week because I have a tendency to kick the ball right over the goal when I get close,” said Toney, who had her first career hat trick. “I’ve been really working on it so I was excited to finally see it pay off.”
While her third goal to make the game 5-1 may not have been the most crucial goal, it was the one she was most pleased with.
“I was really proud of my third one because I placed it on the left side,” the junior forward said.
“I’ve really been working on placing it to the corners, so I was excited that I placed it there.”
Gardner put the exclamation point on the outing by striking a ball in the air from Lucas, who finished with three assists.
A game that at one point was hanging in the balance quickly morphed into a blowout.
“We’ve talked all year about bouncing back from goals, so that was big,” Meyers said. “We gave up one and we didn’t let it get us down, so it all worked out.”
Bend will play its final nonleague game of the season Monday at McMinnville before opening Mountain Valley Conference play at Summit on Oct. 1.
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