South Eugene women’s soccer team honor teammate Lyla Lauderbach

Emotions were running high on Saturday afternoon as the South Eugene women’s soccer team paid tribute to teammate Lyla Lauderbach, who died in a single-vehicle crash on South Willamette Street on Tuesday.

A memorial was held ahead of a South West Conference game against North Medford and players from both teams took a knee in solidarity before kick-off. There was also a minute of silence before the game.

After those tearful scenes, the Axis had the unenviable task of continuing a game of football. However, there was no end to the storybook, with North Medford scoring a goal in each half to win 2-0.

Isabella Driskell struck in a loose ball in the 13th minute when Payton Miller’s shot was deflected by the goalkeeper, and Olivia Boger scored the second for the Black Tornado with a long-range shot that deflected off the bar transverse in the 66th minute.

South Eugene High School players react and hug as Lyla Lauderbach's name is announced Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, at the start of the team's first game since her death in a car crash Tuesday afternoon.

The pre-match scenes were dim and dark, but a large crowd turned out to support South Eugene as the team dealt with the loss of a teammate. The Lauderbach family helped write a tribute to Lyla which was read before the game.

“When people think of Lyla, the words that come to mind are funny, brave, tough, caring, smart, beautiful and so much more,” it reads. “She was an excellent student and always ready to help her friends with their homework and homework. She loved playing soccer and always said her teammates were the most important part of the game to her.

“She was someone everyone wanted to be with. She was beautiful inside and out. She will be truly missed by so many people.”

Players and officials take a knee in memory of South Eugene senior Lyla Lauderbach before the team's game on Saturday, September 10, 2022.

Lauderback died in a single-vehicle accident Tuesday afternoon in South Willamette near Fox Hollow Road, according to Lane County Sgt. Thomas Sperich. There was no evidence of alcohol or drug use in the accident, he added.

The report of an accident came in shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday. Medics arrived and found the deceased driver inside a red Volvo SUV. Lauderbach was the only person in the car, according to police. An investigation found the vehicle was heading south on South Willamette Street when it veered off the road for unknown reasons and crashed into a railing and then a tree, Speldrich said.

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