HERMISTON — As the Hermiston girls’ soccer team huddled at midfield at 4 p.m. on Tuesday at Rocky Heights Elementary, a dozen or so beings stared lazily at the Bulldogs from near the east goal line. They weren’t the Benson Techsters, Tuesday’s scheduled opponent. Instead, a flock of seagulls had decided on the location to scavenge for any leftover concession stand wares.
When Benson arrived to the field 15 minutes later, the visitors declined much of a warm-up and left their hustle on the bus. Hermiston pounded the Techsters 10-0.
Breana Berger scored twice in that timeframe and Daryan Lewis and Kayla Swarat also added goals.
For Hermiston, the remaining 70 minutes of the match looked more like a live practice than varsity competition. The Bulldogs focused on keeping possession and sliding passes through gaps in the defense rather than just running straight at Benson (0-4).
“It’s a good way to work on skills and like plays and our own different techniques,” Berger said.
The match was about as one-sided as any competition could be as Hermiston proved what happens when one team runs and the other aspires to jog. The Bulldogs outshot Benson 49-0 and kept the Techsters from even possessing the ball deep in their territory throughout the first half.
The only times the Hermiston goal keeper touched the ball was on passes from her teammates and on one long kick from midfield that dribbled into the box, shyly creeping through the grass like a baby rabbit.
Hermiston could have played without a keeper for the first half in fact, as the ball never reached that deep into Dawg territory.
Hermiston coach Danielle MacBride found the positives in letting her bench players get some experience. Eight different girls scored for the Bulldogs including also Morgan Gibbs, Paige Long, Megan James, Kylee Andreason and Lollo Jansson, who went for two.
“A game is a game; game experience in what we need,” said the first-year coach, “but I don’t necessarily enjoy games like this. We like to play steady competition so we know what to work on.”
After falling out of this one from the opening whistle, the Benson girls approached the contest with a recreational-league attitude. Coach Antoinette Olivias said though the score may have leaned heavily in the home team’s favor, her girls were happy just to be playing.
“In the end I want them to have a good time. I mean winning is great but it’s not the end goal for most of these girls,” she said.
Benson’s laissez-faire demeanor on the field may have carried over from their travel arrangements. The Portland-based team made the trip to the east side seemingly without calculating the time required to make the full journey. Both the boys’ and girls’ soccer matches between the schools in Hermiston on Tuesday were delayed by the Techsters’ late arrival.
Contact AJ Mazzolini at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-966-0839.