Well, they can't say they didn't have their chances.
The Ashland High girls soccer team couldn't capitalize on several golden opportunities while Roseburg did, and that was the difference in a hard-fought nonconference clash Tuesday at North Mountain Park.
Junior forward Emily Roy scored the go-ahead goal in the first half and an insurance goal in the second, and Ashland threatened the visitors throughout the second half but couldn't finish as the Indians left town with a 3-1 victory.
Recap: Ashland sophomore Ianthe Balbuena scored in the 14th minute to give the Grizzlies the early lead, but Roseburg stormed back behind Emily Roy's two-goal effort to claim the nonleague win.
Up Next: Eagle Point at Ashland, 4 p.m. Thursday.
Ianthe Balbuena knocked in a shot from about 15 yards away in the 14th minute to give the Grizzlies the early lead, but that was it for Ashland, which dropped to 4-3-2 and remained winless since its 4-1-1 start. Class 6A Roseburg, which has won four of its last five games improved to 6-4-1.
"We had a 15-minute sequence there where we were just knocking on the door, just about to score," Ashland head coach Eric Wolff said. "Then they put the counterattack away and now we're down by two goals suddenly. So naturally it's frustrating, but that's also part of soccer. It happens all the time. One team looks like it's dominating and the other team winds up scoring. You gotta live with that."
The Grizzlies are the team living with that today after outshooting Roseburg 8-6 in the second half and having nothing to show for it. Their best opportunity came in the 47th minute, when Ashland's dynamic senior forward Sadie Bailey faked out a defender to get off a sharp-angled shot from about 25 yards away that Roseburg goalkeeper Maddie Lee could only deflect back toward the middle of the field. Ashland sophomore Jessica Harrower streaked in for the rebound, but her point-blank attempt toward the empty net sailed over the crossbar.
Harrower, who sliced her way through the Roseburg defense all day, grabbed her head in agony after the miss, which came only a few minutes after she hit the crossbar with a gorgeous 25-yard free kick.
Moments later, Roy muscled her way into the box and fired off a shot with an Ashland defender glued to her hip, zipping the ball into the right corner of the net to give the Indians their third goal of the day.
The quick-strike score reclaimed the momentum for the Indians, who did a better job controlling the ball the rest of the way and ended up outshooting Ashland 16-13 overall, including 12-6 in on-goal attempts.
"We just kind of got back to how we play," Roseburg coach Adam Blue said, "and that's trying to be possession oriented and moving the ball around and finding the gaps in the defense."
The Grizzlies threatened to make a game of it again, but Lee, who played most of the game for injured starter Mariessa Robles, made three saves against heavy pressure, including a 20-yard blast by Bailey in the 60th.
"I think we played good," Bailey said, "we just needed to have the intensity. I think they wanted it more."
Ashland keeper Sydney Norvell momentarily gave the Grizzlies an emotional lift when she came through with a rare block of a penalty kick by Roseburg's Claire Ibarra in the 63rd minute. Ibarra, who scored Roseburg's first goal in the 18th, laced her PK toward the left side of the goal. The shot had good velocity and was well placed, but Norvell went airborne to punch it away, then quickly bounced back to her feet to make another tough save on the rebound as the pro-Ashland crowd erupted.
"It's very hard," Norvell said of attempting block a pentalty kick. "You try to read them but it's very hard to do so you almost have to pick a side and just go with it, otherwise it's hard to recover and go to the other side."
Wolff said Norvell was a rock in the net.
"The goals aren't her fault," Wolff said. "She came out on those opportunities, but (Roseburg) tucked the ball into the side net. The second goal that Roseburg had was a great shot off a turn, so you can't fault the keeper."
That turn-and-shoot stunner by Roy from 20 yards out completed the move of the night. She pulled the ball back, spun and shot in one fluid motion, angling the ball just inside the near post for a 2-1 Roseburg lead.
Before that, the Indians tied the game when Ibarra ran down a long pass, powered through the hard-charging Norvell and muscled in a short strike.
Balbuena's goal seemed to surprise the Indians, who allowed the sophomore to dribble into the box before letting fly a short-range shot past Robles, near post. It was the first of Ashland's five first-half shots, but the only one that connected as the Grizzlies struggled to finish the rest of the way.
"Just a little lack of luck, a little lack of focus," Wolff said. "We missed opportunities that we should have put away and they were efficient. They had some opportunities and put a good half of those away. That's usually going to equate into a 'W'."