The Banks Braves fought the “Law” Thursday night at CMH Field, and the Law won.
The Astoria girls soccer team did not have an abundance of shots on goal in the Cowapa League match, but when you have the best goalkeeper in the league, you don’t need many.
Astoria scored on one of its two shots on goal in the first half, and goalkeeper Lexi Law did the rest, shutting out the Braves in a 1-0 win for the Lady Fishermen.
And now the Lady Fish find themselves in a place where they haven’t been for a while, if ever: challenging for a league title as they near the midway point of the season.
Astoria improves to 5-2-1 overall (equaling a 5-2-1 start in 2010) and 3-1 in league play, just a half-game behind Scappoose and Valley Catholic, both 3-0 (the Indians and Valiants played Thursday night, but no score was reported).
Astoria has pretty much secured a top three spot in league, as Banks drops to fourth place, at 1-3. And now the Fishermen can set their sights on the Indians and Valiants, Astoria’s next two opponents, both on the road.
“I was pleased with the first half,” said Astoria coach Tim Fastabend. “We controlled for most of the half, but we couldn’t seem to string together that third pass. Then Banks started playing well and had a good second half.”
And so did Law.
The senior keeper made six saves in the first half, then four more in the second.
“The girls have confidence in her, and I never have to worry about her,” Fastabend said of his goalie. “She makes all the easy saves, and makes it look routine. It’s never too exciting with her back there.”
After Astoria controlled the first 20 minutes of the game, the Braves put together a couple of attacks in 23rd minute.
Marissa Dotson was wide left on a free kick, and Law made the save on a follow-up attempt by Aspen Slifka.
And Law’s punt down the center of the field was picked up on the run by Hannah McCarley, who sprinted ahead of the Banks defense and won the one-on-one with Braves’ keeper Lillie Breadon, as McCarley’s shot slipped through Breadon’s hands for the game’s only goal with 16:33 left in the first half.
Astoria had just two more shots on goal in the second half, a free kick by Sarah Lertora, and an open field attempt by Libby Whitsett, both saved by Breadon.
The Lady Fishermen were short-handed, playing without goal-scoring freshman Hayley Kelley, who suffered a concussion at Tillamook.
“We had to move Haley Ranta to the midfield from the back line, and Libby Whitsett has also been doing a great job lately,” Fastabend said. “That’s the good part about this team — we can put ‘em anywhere, and they still play well and don’t complain.”