Rachel Ralston was the difference maker for the Lindbergh Eagles girls soccer team on the score sheet, but there was much more that went into the 2-0 win over Renton on Oct. 3.
“It took all 10 players out there. So it was good to really see them work for each other and the team,” said Head Coach David Detloff.
It was senior night for Lindbergh, and there was no better way to honor those seniors than with a win.
“I feel like we played really hard and worked really hard for our seniors. We wanted it real bad and we showed that on the field,” said Ralston.
The Eagles were a game behind their cross-city rival Redhawks, and were coming off of a 3-1 victory over Evergreen.
In the last 12 meetings of these two schools on the pitch, Lindbergh has won 10 straight against Renton. According to MaxPreps, the last Lindbergh loss to Renton was Sept. 18, 2014. There was no sign of Lindbergh stopping this time around.
“I think we were doing good things early and you got to build off those small wins and victories early… Do good things early and good things will happen,” said Detloff.
Across the first half of play, no side dominated play. Both senior Tracey To for Lindbergh and sophomore Mattea Pattenaude for Renton played staunch defense for each side’s back line. The two defenders played a big part in not allowing easy opportunities for their opponents.
There was an emphasis to get going faster in the game against Renton.
“It is the halfway point this season,” said Detloff. “We’re starting to see good things really forming out there.”
Seemingly out of nowhere, Lindbergh junior Oniee Gradine-Core sent a ball down the left sideline for junior Rachel Ralston. The listed midfielder beat the Renton defender and headed toward the net and snuck the ball past the Redhawk goalie in the 35th minute. All it took was a pre-game preminiton that she would score.
“Before the game I was like ‘I gotta score today, I’ve gotta do it for my girls.’ Then I scored and was like ‘Oh my gosh. I did it! I did it!’” Ralston said.
The second and final goal of the game was scored for two reasons. One being patience and the other being in the right spot at the right time. Freshman midfielder Patience Peery had control of the ball on the right sideline and kicked a cross in that weaved through and snuck its way all the way to Ralston on the left side of the goal. She took one touch and shot it, scoring her second goal of the half.
“She had solid effort. (She was) responsible defensively and in the center of the field. She played for her teammates,” Detloff said.
Holding on to the lead is just as difficult as scoring for the Eagles against a Renton side that wasn’t showing signs of letting up.
“We worked really hard to get here. Now we have to work even harder to keep it,” said Ralston.
During the final minutes, the Eagles kept pushing for that third goal, but the Renton keeper Zitlaly Valeriano-Reyes was tough to get by. The effort was what Coach Detloff was looking for: “You gotta play whistle to whistle and not be complacent to find success not only in soccer, but life. You don’t want to take your foot of the gas because life will hit you quick and it’s the same thing in soccer,” he said.
Lindbergh has a lot of depth this season. Eboni Rose and Gradin-Core give a lot of speed at the top, Emily Staley and Paige McMath play great in the midfield, along with To in defense. But the best part of the team? Their teamwork.
“I think they like each other. You play hard for someone you like,” Detloff said.
The camaraderie is something special for all of the Eagles.
“I’ve played soccer my whole life and on a bunch of different teams. I’ve never had relationships like I do with the girls… When you have these relationships with all the players on the team and you’re really good friends, it makes you want to work really hard and play for them,” Ralston said.
Lindbergh beat Renton in the postseason on penalty kicks last year and made it to the winner-to-state game, then lost to Sammamish. This season, they have put in the work and are looking to head in the right direction.
“It’s stuff behind the scenes. They worked hard. They were running hills, they were doing a lot of things. They’re a resilient team,” Detloff said.