STILLMAN VALLEY – A hat trick by an Oregon senior wasn’t enough on Saturday as the Hawks’ season ended in a 4-3 loss at the Class 1A Stillman Valley soccer regional.
Trailing 2-0 at halftime and with leading scorer Joey Gelander sidelined with a hamstring injury, it looked like Oregon was going to end their 2021 quietly.
Another goal by the Cardinals early in the period gave all indications that the door had definitely closed on the Hawks’ season, but Liam Dickson-Harriett, one of three seniors and a co-captain on the Hawks’ team, wasn’t just quite ready to call it quits.
When coach Seger Larson sent a limping Gelander into the game, he moved Dickson-Harriett to a right forward position – and he did not disappoint.
He first scored with 12 minutes remaining to make it 3-1, but Stillman countered with a goal to make it 4-1.
He then made a run with 6 minutes to play, dodged the Cardinals’ goalie, and adeptly dropped a shot into the left corner of the cage to make it 4-2.
Then, with 2 minutes left, he broke free again and juked the last defender to make it 4-3.
“We were down 2-0 at halftime and made some adjustments to try and get some offense in the second half, but we continued to not communicate and went down 3-0 early in the second half,” Larson said. “I ended up putting Joey in the game and told him not to run, but to distribute the ball. I wanted to give him the opportunity to play in what ended up being his last game.
“Liam had been in the middle for us this year, but I ended up moving him to the outside because I saw a weakness on their defense which led to him getting the hat trick in his last career game, “ Larson said, “but earlier mistakes put us too far back.”
Larson said one of Dickson-Harriett’s goals came on assists from fellow seniors Gelander and Issac Nelson.
“The best moment in the game for me was when Joey played a ball to Isaac, who played it to Liam, who scored,” Larson said. “That was a nice triangle with all three seniors for one last go.”