After opening league play with back to back wins, the La Salle Falcons girls soccer team has hit a minor bump in the road against the top two teams in the 4A Tri Valley league. The Falcons lost 1-nil last week at home to Molalla. On Tuesday night (Oct. 5) they welcomed the defending State Champion, Gladstone Gladiators to La Salle Stadium.
The Falcons got plenty of scoring chances in the first half, including a Penalty Kick opportunity in the 36th minute of the match, but failed to get the ball into the net, in the 2-1 loss to the Gladiators who have now won five straight matches and sit atop the league standings, tied with Molalla.
The first 20 minutes were tight with both teams sending the ball back and forth around midfield. Gladstone finally broke through with the match’s first goal, when Amber Jensen lined up the ball off a deflection in front of an open goal, her first of two goals on the night for the Gladiators.
The score remained at 1, nil in Gladstone’s favor to halftime and into the second half. That is until Jensen struck again. This time taking a pass on a break out in the middle of the field, and when La Salle goalkeeper, Joslyn Bigelow came out to get the ball, Jensen shot into the back of the net on the left side, increasing the Gladiator lead to 2, nil with just under 35 minutes to play.
This was the first time that Bigelow has played goal for the Falcons. That’s because the regular keeper for La Salle, Senior Natalie Byrne had to leave the game late in the first half after aggravating an injury suffered in the Falcons’ last game with Molalla.
Falcon coach Ryan Cereghino put in Freshman Bailey Titus for the rest of the half, but because she had already played one half in the Junior Varsity match earlier in the evening, Titus couldn’t play the second half. So the “best option for Cereghino was Bigelow, who had mentioned to the coach at an earlier practice that she has played goalie in the past in club soccer.
“[I] just kind of stored that in the back of my mind until today”, he said. Cereghino added, “She did a great job in there”.
That one goal in the 56th minute is the only ball that got past Bigelow as she was aggressive and came hard to save all other shots on goal by the Gladiators.
The Falcons came out with a different attitude in the last 15 minutes, attacking Gladstone much harder and finally broke through in the 67th minute when sophomore Amanda Byrne stepped up and knocked a ball into the net from about 5 yards in front of the goal. That brought the Falcons to within one at 2-1.
La Salle had two other great opportunities to get the equalizer with less than 10 minutes to play. The first was on a through shot, in which Byrne sent the ball up to senior Kathleen Werner, but she said she just didn’t have a good angle, just missing the left post.
“I wasn’t all the way there [and] I had pressure on me”, stated Werner.
The second opportunity was on a corner kick that Werner placed in the middle but was turned away by the Gladstone defensive back line. The result was disappointing for Werner who has friends on the Gladstone team and a former coach.
“I really wanted to beat them”, she said, adding that they’ll get them “Next Time”.
That will come October 28th on the Gladiators home turf. A game that Coach Cereghino says the Falcons will be ready for.
“We created opportunities”, he said. “Putting [those opportunities] away is what we’ll be focusing on for round two”.
Other Tri-Valley League Scores
Molalla 6 vs. Madras 0.
North Marion 6 vs. Estacada 0.
La Salle Falcons 1 at Gladstone 2.
Madras 2 vs. Molalla 0
Estacada 2 vs. North Marion 1.
To view the Tri Valley League Girls Soccer Standings click here.