The Astoria girls soccer team spent the first half of Thursday's game taking target practice on the net, in a Cowapa League match against Rainier/Clatskanie at CMH Field.

And Astoria made the most of the first 40 minutes of play, taking 19 shots on goal and scoring five on its way to a 5-1 win, as the Fishermen warmed up for next Tuesday's first place showdown at Valley Catholic.

The Lady Fish (4-2-1 overall) played the sportsmanship card in the second half, using just eight players in the field. Rainier's Evelyne Wheeler scored on a penalty kick in the 44th minute to help the winless Columbian Tigers (0-6) avoid the shutout.

Meanwhile, Astoria needed just 2 minutes, 44 seconds to score the game's first goal, a short pass from Maddie Sisley to Karen Jimenez for a close-range shot and a 1-nil lead.

Sisley scored off an assist from Pele Starr-Hollow at 14:46, and Starr-Hollow netted the next two goals for the Fishermen, scoring off a free kick from Jimenez in the 22nd minute, and unassisted six minutes later.

Freshman Eva Espelien tallied the fifth goal in the 33rd minute off a pass from Darby McCleary. Rainier goalkeeper Jamie Knox made 10 saves in the first half.

Astoria keeper Audrey Cereghino had very little work to do in the first 40 minutes, while backup goalie Malory Dundas made three saves in the second half.

Gulls 2, Banks 0

In other Cowapa League girls' soccer action Thursday, Seaside blanked Banks 2-0, the second straight shutout win for the Gulls, following three straight losses.

Seaside hosts Tillamook Tuesday.

In Cowapa League boys' soccer, Banks scored a 1-0 win over Seaside at Broadway Field, the Braves' first win over the Gulls since 2013.

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