Six days after their season-opening 2-1 victory over Rainier, the Astoria boys soccer team returned to their No. 1 home at CMH Field, and scored a 2-1, nonleague win over St. Helens.
The Fishermen — still not at full strength for Thursday’s contest under the lights — took advantage of their edge in the speed department, as they out-hustled St. Helens on the artificial turf.
It was enough to win a defensive battle with the Class 5A Lions, who dropped to 0-2.
A goal by Astoria’s Michael Postlewait in the 48th minute was the game-winner, and Fishermen keeper Tony Tumbarello did the rest, as the sophomore goalie made five saves in the second half to preserve the win.
He had help, with strong defensive efforts from Astoria teammates Porter Whitsett, Brooks Fromwiller and Rodrigo Palacio-Rojas.
Meanwhile, St. Helens held a slight edge in shots on goal in the first half. Lions’ senior Regan Tolman bounced a shot off the crossbar in the 14th minute, while an attempt by Astoria’s Jonathan Jimenez was wide left.
The game’s first goal came on a penalty kick, as the Lions were called for a foul just inside the penalty area in the 26th minute.
Jimenez converted, driving the free shot into the lower left corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
But it didn’t last long.
With 10 minutes left in the half, St. Helens sophomore Kaleb Edwards chased down a ball off a throw-in, and scored past Tumbarello to tie the game.
The Lions nearly picked up a second goal in the closing minute of the half, but Palacio-Rojas was able to disrupt a breakaway by the Lions’ Waylon Nichols, preserving a 1-1 tie at the half.
“Jonathan Jimenez stayed calm for a nice PK, but I was impressed with the combo and shot from St. Helens that found our net,” said Astoria coach Lee Cain.
But, “For the most part, the team fixed our problem areas after the halftime talk.”
The Fishermen wasted little time in creating opportunities on offense in the second half.
A long free kick by Jimenez in the opening minutes sailed wide right, but 8:18 into the half, Jimenez centered a deep ball to Postlewait, who beat two defenders to the ball and scored into an open net for what turned out to be the game-winning score.
Astoria needed the victory, as five of its next seven games are on the road, including the Cowapa League opener Sept. 20 at Seaside.
Cain “was fairly happy with the results tonight,” he said. “I liked the boys’ play when they were on, and wasn’t surprised when they were off, because we are still a fairly young team and it’s early.
“But they are improving, and played at least as well or better than I expected,” he said. “Michael Postlewait’s goal came at a good time, and I liked how we held things steady and kept the 2-1 score through some smart defensive tactics that the boys employed on their own on the pitch.”
The Fishermen take on Marshfield in a nonleague game Saturday (played at Newport, kickoff at 3:15 p.m.).