ST. HELENS -- On a night dominated by the wet and colder temperatures, St. Helens shook off a slow start to come from behind and beat visiting Seaside 2-1 in a nonleague girls soccer match Thursday.
Class 5A St. Helens improved to 2-2-1 with the win, and 4A Seaside fell to 2-2-1.
After Seaside scored in the fourth minute, St. Helens began a speedy attack led by intricate passing. In the 14th minute, junior Mackenzie Carlson hit a shot that curled into the bottom right-hand corner from the top of the box to draw the Lions even at 1-1.
St. Helens continued to dominate possession into the second half and took a 2-1 lead in the 44th minute when senior Kennady Brown's pass found Carlson, who took a smooth first touch and tucked it under the goalkeeper for her second goal on the night.
St. Helens dominated the remainder of the match with a patient attack that built up on nearly every possession. Seaside desperately tried to counter-attack but strong outside defending by senior Amanda Nichols kept the Lions ahead.
St. Helens coach Simon Date was pleased with how his team responded.
"The girls shook off a shortened warm-up. It was youth night, so we didn't have a lot of time to get fully prepared," he said.
Date said he told his players that their performance at the beginning of the match "wasn't them, and to stay calm and sink into the game." These words of advice seemed to work very well for the Lions, who bounced back quickly.
The Lions rebounded after a tough 2-1 loss to 6A Beaverton on Tuesday, when they gave up the winning goal in the final minute.
"The Beaverton game was one of the best games that I have watched in my seven years at St. Helens," Date said. "The game was extremely balanced and very back and forth. If we can play every game like that Beaverton game, then there is no doubt in my mind that we will make it into the top four in league."
The Northwest Oregon Conference has adopted a new format this season in which only the top four teams advance to the playoffs. In the previous plan, the No. 5 and No. 6 teams played in play-in matches.
St. Helens' next match is Sept. 20 at home against 6A Gresham.
Luke Roth is a student at Clatskanie High School