In soccer, sometimes a scoreless tie is as good as a win.

There’s the “play-it-safe” scoreless tie — load up on the defensive end, and sacrifice any offensive attacks. There are the “unlucky” ties, where one team dominates the other, but still can’t score. And there’s the aggressive ties against the much higher-ranked teams.

The Astoria girls soccer team scored one of the category No. 3 ties Thursday night, as the Lady Fishermen played first place Valley Catholic to a 0-0 tie at CMH Field.

In Astoria’s recent history with the Valiants, Valley Catholic defeated the Fishermen 3-0 earlier this season. The Valiants swept two games last year, 5-0 and 4-0; Valley won 6-0 and 7-0 in 2017; 5-0 and 9-0 in 2016; a pair of 6-0 wins in 2015; and Valley Catholic won by 8-0 and 9-0 counts in 2014.

The Fishermen showed how far they’ve come and what they can do when they are healthy and playing at full strength in 2019.

Valley Catholic possessed the ball for the majority of the first half, but it was Astoria that had better scoring opportunities.

The Lady Fish generated several attacks from midfield or the defensive end.

Fresh off her three-goal game in a win over Tillamook, Elle Espelien had an early chance out in front of the Valiant defense, but her attempt sailed wide right.

Midway through the first half, Espelien stole a ball near midfield, then played a give-and-go down the right sideline with teammate Meghan O’Meara.

After Espelien passed it to O’Meara, O’Meara sent it right back to Espelien, whose open shot from 20 yards out missed to the left.

Astoria’s third opportunity of the first half was another near-miss, as Espelien’s free kick from 40 yards out just missed connecting with O’Meara in front of the net.

The Valiants had three corner kicks and one shot on goal in the first half, but it was saved by Astoria keeper Baylee McSwain, who also broke up several Valley Catholic chances on crossing passes.

The Fishermen stepped up the offensive pressure in half No. 2, as did the Valiants.

A free kick by Valley Catholic’s Quinn Walker sailed over the cross bar, and shortly after, Valiants’ keeper Shivani Naresh deflected a free kick from O’Meara from 30 yards out, and Espelien’s close range putback opportunity was wide right.

McSwain also had more work in goal, as she made saves on Valley Catholic shots on goal from Anna Kinder and Chloe Bauer, while another attempt by Walker missed left.

O’Meara’s best shot on goal of the game came with 12:20 left, an attempt straight up the middle that was saved by Naresh.

With the intensity building as time ran out, Espelien’s free kick from 35 yards away missed to the right, while McSwain made her save of the game with just 1:40 left on the clock, as she made the stop on a breakaway by Valley’s Riley McGee.

Astoria honored seven seniors before the game — Abi Albright, Taileigh Cole, Erin Grauff, McSwain, Mariali Hernandez Rojas, Orbilia Zaragoza and Brooklyn Zerangue.

Fishermen fans and players all celebrated the scoreless tie, which was Astoria’s second of the season, and leaves the Fishermen with a 2-4-2 league record, 4-6-4 overall. Astoria will await an opponent for the play-in round.

In other league action Thursday, Seaside and Tillamook played to a 0-0 tie at Tillamook.

Gary Henley is a sports reporter for The Astorian. Contact him at 503-861-8493 or

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