The Rogers Rams didn’t take the Graham-Kapowsin Eagles lightly during their South Puget Sound League girls soccer battle Thursday night.
Rogers forward Payton O’Neil scored the lone goal of the game in the 39th minute and propelled the Rams to a 1-0 victory at Sparks Stadium.
Defender Ana Samson, who was playing right defender, got the assist when she crossed it to O’Neil on the left side of the pitch. O’Neil unleashed a shot that hit the back of the net just before halftime.
Rogers controlled the game throughout the first half and had seven shots on goal. Graham-Kapowsin had a golden opportunity to score on a header in the 73rd minute, but the ball sailed over the crossbar.
The Rams swept the Eagles last year, but Rogers head coach Moe Orcutt knew it would be a much better match this season.
“Last year I thought (Graham-Kapowsin) was the up-and-coming team,” Orcutt said. “They had a young group, and now they are a year older. We’re a year older, too.
“I’m glad we got the win,” Orcutt said. “It’s three points for us in the standings. It doesn’t matter if you win by one goal or win by 20 goals, it is still three points in the standings. Graham-Kapowsin has a good squad, and they gave us a go of it.”
Orcutt said his players logged a significant amount of playing time against the Eagles.
“It’s early in the season, and we got a chance to experiment by putting players in different positions to see what we’ve got as a team,” he said. “We’re happy with how we played tonight.”
Rogers senior goalkeeper Carly Wilson, who is in her second season as the starter, said it’s important to kick the year off on the right foot.
“It was our first game together, and we were excited about it,” she said. “Scoring that first goal and winning that first game is good for us. We played tough, and to see us finish the game the way we did was nice.”
Sports Editor Shaun Scott can be reached at 253-552-7002 or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_shaun.