For 30 minutes Thursday night, nothing the Puyallup High girls soccer team generated on offense found its way into the back of Rogers’ net — despite a high-pressure attack.
That’s when Grayson Nattage stepped up.
In the 31st minute, Puyallup formed a set piece roughly 25 yards outside the Rogers penalty box, but the Rams closed in quickly on the ball, forcing a loose ball back out toward Nattage. With a quick strike, Nattage knocked down a shot with enough power to have it skid and bounce over the right shoulder of the Rams’ goalie.
Nattage’s goal kick-started the offense and Puyallup closed out the week strong with a shutout win over rival Rogers, 2-0, at Sparks Stadium.
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“Going in, I was really nervous, and I was thinking I needed to do something good,” Nattage said. “I wasn’t really sure it was going to go in, but I knew someone had to step up and take the shot.”
Rogers (0-2) nearly brought the game even right before the half, but the Rams failed to capitalized on multiple attacks inside Puyallup’s box, as the Vikings defense thwarted and parried each attempt.
“We weren’t able to generate shots tonight, as we only had one official shot on the score sheet,” Rogers senior Bekah Barkley said.
Puyallup (2-0-1) held Rogers to one shot on goal in the win.
Things just went right for Puyallup on Thursday; a botched free kick turned into the best possible result for Sunny Bieber.
After a hard foul brought a free kick outside the box in the 69th minute, four Vikings lined up for the set piece, creating some confusion on what Puyallup was going to do with the shot. Two Vikings ran over the ball before the third player, defender Grace Wood, attempted a back-heel pass to set the shot up closer for Bieber. The ball didn’t move, but it didn’t matter as Bieber floated a shot into the top right corner to push the lead to 2-0 late in the game.
“That shot was close for me to hit it on frame and get a goal out of it. Sometimes, it was a miscommunication, but I stepped up and hit it in,” Bieber said.
Puyallup is off to a good start to the season, ending the opening week with a 2-0-1 record while outscoring opponents 8-1. Puyallup travels to South Kitsap (1-1) on Tuesday (Sept. 13) before hosting Sumner in a big meeting at Sparks Stadium on Thursday (Sept. 15).
Rogers has a tough early game against Bellarmine Prep (0-1) in Tacoma on Tuesday, and then hosts Emerald Ridge (1-2) in the battle of South Hill on Thursday at home.
“I thought we played really, really well. We got unlucky on the first goal, and then (they hit a) good shot on the second goal. (The shot was) really well placed,” Rogers coach JR Farias said.