Haley Johnson’s late-game heroics lifts Vikings past Oregon State
By Aaron Gillis
With 15 seconds remaining, senior captain Sarah Wyrick passed the ball from behind the goal to sophomore Haley Johnson, who weaved through defenders and fired the ball into the back of the net.
The shot gave Western women’s lacrosse an 11-10 win over Oregon State, in a matchup that went down to the wire on a clear but cold 38-degree Saturday evening at the Rec Center Turf Field.
Oregon State scored four straight goals and took a 10-9 lead with just a few minutes left to play, but the Vikings weren’t finished.
Western scored a goal to tie the game with under a minute left, and then the magic happened.
“I think we work really well together,” Johnson said of Wyrick’s last-second pass. “She was the main cause of that goal at the end there.”
Senior captain Amelia Chirichigno praised Johnson’s late-game heroics.
“She just knows that when she has to make it, she can make it. When it’s close to the end, she’s someone we can look to just to finish,” Chirichigno said.
Johnson was pleased with how the team played as a unit.
“We always have a lot of fun together,” Johnson said. “It’s really good chemistry.”
The first half was an even match between the two teams. Wyrick scored the first two goals for Western as they jumped out to a 3-1 lead.
Oregon State bounced back, however, scoring four straight goals to take a 5-3 lead.
Both teams then seemed to find their rhythm on offense and defense, and the half ended tied at six.
Physicality was a large factor throughout the game, as players were pushing back and forth to control the ball. Wyrick told the team at halftime that they couldn’t let that get to them.
“We have a lot more skill and composure than the really aggressive game that OSU was playing,” she said. “Basically, I was just telling our girls to take a deep breath and play how we know how to play.”
The Vikings started the second half on fire, scoring three straight goals to retake the lead at 6-5.
“We really cleaned up our passes in the transitions,” said Chirichigno. “We just played in unison.”
Johnson also praised the team’s passing in the game.
“I think we worked really well together in the midfield connecting passes. We really have fun together and it’s always good chemistry,” Johnson said.
The rest of the half was back and forth as Oregon State scored four straight goals before Western scored the final two to earn the victory.
Wyrick was happy with how the team stuck together in the face of adversity.
“We did a really good job staying positive for each other,” Wyrick said. “There were really intense moments throughout the game, and we could have fallen apart, but we stuck together and stayed there for each other.”
The Vikings won their first game of the day 20-15 against the University of Oregon, and play Sunday, Feb. 11 at 1 p.m. against the University of Washington to close out their first homestand.