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Two top girls teams mix it up

But no one from La Salle or Gladstone can find the net

MILWAUKIE - 'We dodged a bullet,' said Gladstone girls soccer coach Steve Thomas. 'We played terrible. We played kick ball.'

Thomas' remarks came after his charges had battled to a scoreless tie in a hard fought Thursday afternoon game at La Salle.

The two teams entered the contest ranked among the best in the state and both teams were unbeaten and untied before Thursday. The two rivals had out-scored 15 opponents 54-4 heading into play this week.

'I feel very proud of our girls for matching Gladstone's intensity,' said La Salle coach LeRoy Neal. 'Next time we will set it as our goal to impose a little bit more soccer when we play them….

'This wasn't our best game, but by far it was our most intense and highly desired. We are pleased to compete with a program such as Gladstone's, which has a rich history and a tradition of winning.'

Much of last Thursday's contest was a back-and-fourth battle. But La Salle had a clear advantage in the play for most of the second half.

'I take responsibility [for Gladstone's sub-par play],' said Thomas. 'I think I gave the girls too much to think about. I had them concerned about La Salle's big field, and they forgot to play soccer.'

Thomas said he had taken his crew to Gladstone's Meldrum Bar Park to practice one day last week in preparation for La Salle's larger field.

'Athletically, Gladstone has a huge advantage,' said Neal. 'It showed in the first half.'

'I think the girls discovered that La Salle was the better conditioned team,' said Thomas. 'They had the clear advantage in the second half, except for the final six minutes.'

La Salle's biggest scoring threat came in the second half, when sophomore forward Laura Schmitt had a shot deflect off the crossbar.

'Laura Heard did a great job of establishing a point of attack for much of the game,' said Neal. 'Molly McCue and Alle MacLeod were outstanding in defense, cleaning up any attempted attack.

'And [goalie] Dolores Lyons faced a demon in this game and came out of it smelling like roses and with a newfound confidence.'

'Amy Skofstad played a great game in the back and Emily Tsugawa did a great job of controlling the ball,' said Thomas. 'But we didn't do a very good job of finishing.'

Thomas had the Falcons with a 3-2 edge in shots on-goal.

In other games last week, La Salle won 4-1 at Stayton, while Gladstone beat Estacada 3-0.

MacLeod, Heard, Schmitt and Erin Russell scored against the Eagles. Neal praised Lyons for 'making three huge saves' in the Stayton game.

The Glads out-shot Estacada 3-0, with senior Miranda O'Connor scoring twice and freshman Taylor Aldredge finding the net, all in the first half. Kylie Fowler was credited with two assists.

'The first 25 minutes was the best they've played - by far - this year,' said Thomas.

La Salle (7-0-1, 5-0-1) hosts North Marion (0-5-0) Thursday at 4:15 p.m.; Gladstone (6-0-1, 4-0-1) entertains Cascade (2-2-1) Thursday at 7 p.m.