By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Missing Katy Wyatt, McNary’s co-leading scorer and best defensive center midfielder, the Lady Celts couldn’t keep up with Lincoln, falling 3-2 on Saturday, Oct. 28 in the first round of the state playoffs.

McNary gave up its first goal in just the fifth minute as nerves got the best of the Lady Celts and the Lincoln center midfielder took advantage of a poor clearance on a crossed ball in the box, and placed a driven shot to the upper corner from 22 yards out.

“The first five minutes, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” McNary head coach A.J. Nash said. “We were just frozen. But we settled in and realized they weren’t as scary or as good as we were making them seem.”

The Lady Celts earned a corner kick in the 28th minute that was crossed in by junior Gina Munguia. The Lincoln defense was able to play out the initial attempt but Munguia gathered it quickly and sent another cross into the box that was volleyed with the back heel into the upper left corner by junior Abigail Hawley.

McNary goalkeeper Sydney Snapp made a diving save in the 37th minute to keep the game tied 1-1 entering halftime.

Munguia then placed a shot 30 yards out over the Lincoln goalkeeper’s head to put the Celts up 2-1 in the 45th minute.

After two close calls, including another diving save from Snapp and a shot off the left post, Lincoln tied the game 2-2 in the 52nd minute, finding a gap in the McNary defense and hitting a one time shot off a cross from the right side from 12 yards out to the upper right corner.

Lincoln scored the winning goal in the 60th minute, connecting with a cross from the outside in the middle of the box to make it 3-2.

With Wyatt out with mono, Nash played a rotation of girls who were normally fill-ins.

“They couldn’t keep up mentally the quickness of the game and the pace of the game,” Nash said. “They only lost them (Lincoln forwards) probably five times but every time they lost them it was either a dynamic diving save by Sydney or a goal. Ultimately, their center of the park was able to find the ball in dangerous positions.”

The Lady Celts began to push defenders into the attack, and took chances with additional offensive substitutions in the final ten minutes. But Lincoln closed out the game well, playing deep to the corners and locking McNary into their defensive end with good pressure.

“We competed against a great team,” Nash said. “We relentlessly battled all the way to the final whistle just about every game this season so I was incredibly proud of their performance.”

Nash credited Snapp, who finished with 15 saves, for keeping the Lady Celts in the game.

“She had the best game of her season that day, 15 saves and of those, six of them you knew were goals until she saved it,” Nash said. “You were ready to tip your hat to the opponent and then all of the sudden she got a finger on it.”

McNary finished the season 8-4-2, advancing to the state playoffs in back-to-back seasons.

“Last year we were excited to make the playoffs,” Nash. “This year we were disappointed to lose even as the underdog, which tells you the direction of where the program is heading.”

The Lady Celts return all but one starter—Jessy Shore.

“We’ve got some unfinished business,” Nash said. “I’m excited that these freshmen and sophomores that weren’t on the team last year that got their first playoff experience, they won’t be as starstruck.”

Lincoln defeated Aloha on Tuesday, Oct. 31 4-1 to advance to the quarterfinals of the state tournament.