* This story has been edited from the edition that appeared in print. An incorrect goal scorer had been reported.
Nonleague girls’ soccer foes Lewiston and Clarkston were tied through two halves, two overtime periods and nine-tenths of a tiebreaking shootout at Walker Field in the first Clash at the Border game as the Bengals’ Laura Kokernak squared up for a climactic kick.
Kokernak drove the ball high into the net to the right of Clarkston goalkeeper Erica Pickett to lift the Bengals to a 2-1 win. The teams had finished regulation tied at 1-1 and gone scoreless in two five-minute overtimes.
“I was really nervous, and I just went in, didn’t let it get into my head, and I just told myself where I was going to put it — and I just put it there,” Kokernak said. “I studied my teammates, and took what they did and applied it to my kick.”
Kokernak’s kick clinched Lewiston’s first trophy of the year, which was presented by event founder Juan Jay Marshall in a postgame ceremony meant to cement the Clash at the Border’s status as a new tradition in the mold of other annual Lewiston-Clarkston rivalry contests.
“In the valley, I noticed there (was) nothing for soccer,” explained Marshall, who is a longtime area soccer referee. “There’s Battle of the Bridges (football), the Golden Throne (basketball) and the Plunger (wrestling). I thought, ‘We need to get something going for soccer,’ so I asked the coaches, and they all thought it was great. ... Each year, I hope it gets bigger and better, and we go from there.”
The ultimate outcome of the game would have seemed improbable for most of regulation, which saw the Bantams (0-1) in possession of the ball more often than the Bengals (4-1). Clarkston outshot Lewiston 15-3 overall, with heroics from goalies Rylie Reagan and Madison Arlint — who combined for 15 saves — keeping the Bengals in contention.
After a scoreless first half, the Bantams recorded the first goal of the game thanks to a penalty kick by Lauren Johnson in the 64th minute, and that was almost enough to seal a victory. It was not until the 78th minute that an increased urgency in the Lewiston offense was finally rewarded when Ashlynn Skinner drove in for a close-range tying goal.
“We responded,” Lewiston coach Rich Gayler said. “That was the great thing about it. We made personnel changes in our formation, and it was good.”
As the clock wound down in regulation, several attempts at an additional Clarkston goal narrowly missed or were intercepted by Arlint.
“It comes down to finishing,” Clarkston coach Ryan Newhouse said. “We just weren’t able to put them away. We made a mistake there in the middle of the second half, and they capitalized on it.”
Johnson and Jolee Nicholas converted for Clarkston in the 10-kick shootout, while Ashlynn Skinner and Allison Jacks answered to keep Lewiston in it before Kokernak’s clincher.
“You’ve got to give them credit,” Newhouse said of Lewiston. “They grinded a win out. They pushed it to overtime, and that’s soccer.
“I was really pleased with how we showed up to the game to play, how we executed our gameplan for the most part. I’m really happy for them just to keep their head up and know that good things are coming this year.”
Gayler’s sentiments were similar.
“This team is so interested in developing and getting better,” he said, “and we’ve got some good goals ahead of us.”
Clarkston 0 1 0 0 0—1
Lewiston 0 1 0 0 1—2
Clarkston — Lauren Johnson, 64th
Lewiston — Ashlynn Skinner, 78th
Clarkston — Lauren Johnson, Jolee Nicholas
Lewiston — Ashlynn Skinner, Allison Jacks, Laura Kokernak
Shots — Clarkston 15, Lewiston 3. Saves — Clarkston: Pickett 3, Lewiston: Reagan 9, Arlint 6.