WARRENTON — At least no one will accuse the Astoria girls soccer program of ducking the competition.

The Lady Fishermen hosted another state power Tuesday night, as Oregon Episcopal came calling at Volunteer Field in Warrenton.

And after taking one half of play to figure out the Astoria defense, the Aardvarks finally found the back of the net in the second half to score a 3-0 nonleague win over the Lady Fishermen.

The two teams were formerly in the same district, before an OSAA realignment of girls soccer in 2010.

Oregon Episcopal is now 13-1-1 against Astoria since 1999, losing to the Fishermen in 2000 (1-0) and tying in 2007 (0-0). They defeated Astoria 13-0 in 2004 and 7-0 in 2009.

Still, the Lady Fish have come along ways since the days of 13-0. Astoria has played two straight strong outings against La Salle and now OES.

“It was very similar to the La Salle game,” said Astoria coach Jerry Boisvert, whose team lost a 3-0 decision to the Falcons last week. “We knew OES had some really good players. We're trying to tighten up on defense, and I think we again caused them to rush their shots, and not get the best shots off. That wasn't the case in the second half.

“I don't know if that's conditioning or not,” he said, as OES scored two of its goals in the final 17 minutes. “Their coach (Scot Thompson) was pleased with the challenge we gave them.”

Much like their loss to La Salle, the Fishermen were locked in a scoreless halftime tie with OES, despite the Aarvarks' first half dominance in time of possession.

Astoria’s birthday girl – goalkeeper Katie Russell – made a few remarkable saves in the first half to keep OES off the scoreboard.

Included were two close-range attempts by OES sophomore midfielder Mickaelah McKinney-Griggs.

But it didn’t take long into the second half for the Aardvarks to break the scoring drought. One minute, 33 seconds, to be exact.

McKinney-Griggs took a pass up the middle, dribbled the ball into the 18-yard box, and fired a shot at the far post for a 1-0 lead.

Following a few misses and a few more saves by Russell, McKinney-Griggs tallied her second goal, scoring unassisted from the top of the box area with a low liner past Russell with 17:44 remaining.

And the Aardvarks saved their best for last, when junior Carolyn Ruoff drilled the ball into the back of the net from 30 yards out with 11:23 left.

The Fishermen regained the services of senior Ani Graves, who had not played since her freshman year because of injuries.

“Ani’s presence for the first time since her freshman year really helped,” Boisvert said. “She said, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to be in shape,’ but obviously she had a tremendous influence in this game. She stabilized the back line and showed some good stuff.

“Katie Russell is also a real important cog in our wheels,” he said. “We played Marina (Oman) up top in the second half, and she showed me that she can hold the ball a little bit longer, and we can build off of her.

“We used Marina a lot to play defense again, because they have an unbelievably good midfield,” he said. “They have a lot of talent. (La Salle and OES) are both better sides than us, but I like what we have going into the Cowapa League. We played two of the best teams in the state, and now it’s just league games. If we keep improving and bring that same intensity, I’ll be thrilled.”

Astoria opens league play next Tuesday at Yamhill-Carlton.

In other nonleague girls soccer action, Seaside won at Estacada, 4-1.



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