MHC GIRLS SOCCER - Central Catholic gets pack on track with big win at Delta Park
by: Kris Anderson Gresham defender Bailey Allen chases a loose ball against Central Catholic’s Cassidy Coto during the Rams’ 5-0 win Tuesday.

An early goal proved to be all the scoring the Central Catholic girl's soccer team would need against the Gresham Gophers.

Yet, the Rams continued to tack on goals throughout the match, as the Gresham defense was unable to combat the speed of forwards Jessica Rogers and Ellie Harrison, who scored two goals apiece in a 5-0 victory on Tuesday.

'Central Catholic is very fast, and we just couldn't keep up with that,' Gresham's assistant coach Kate Franklin said.

The Rams (1-2-1) dominated the time of possession in the first half. Their forwards and midfielders worked the ball between each other at will and used their quickness provide numerous scoring opportunities.

'That's one of our biggest strengths is our team speed,' Rams' head coach Nichole Wilcox said. 'Tonight, especially in our attacking third, our speed definitely was our weapon, and we noticed that in the first five minutes, and lucky our girls noticed it and made those adjustments and utilized it.'

The Rams proved early that it would be a long night for the Gresham (2-2-1) defenders.

Five minutes into the match, Lindsey Mattila pushed a lead pass behind the Gresham defense. Forward Jessica Rogers met the pass in stride, free of any defenders, and sent the ball past the keeper, giving the Rams an early 1-0 lead.

Later in the half, Ellie Harrison dribbled the ball deep into Gresham territory. Inside the 18-yard box, Harrison was pressured by the defense before centering a pass right on the foot of Rogers who one-timed her second goal, for a 2-0 lead.

'Ellie Harrison had a really good focused ball,' Rogers said. 'That's an extremely hard ball to play-feeding it through, too. I just had to focus and get my knee over it and try to stay calm.'

Looking to create an even more agonizing first half for Gresham, the Rams had another scoring chance on a free kick from 40 yards away from the goal.

Susanne Juratovac bombed the kick into a crowded penalty box that found Maheyla Molinari who shot the ball out of the air and into the net, for a 3-0 Rams lead before halftime.

It was the end to a half that continued to get worse for the Gophers, as they were never able to establish any kind of offensive attack.

'We don't have a lot of leadership, at this point, so we didn't have anyone, after we got scored on, to pick us up,' Franklin said. 'It really just came down to work ethic and effort, and unfortunately Central Catholic wanted it more than we did tonight.'

The Rams continued to pile it on after halftime with two goals by Harrison in the first five minutes of the second half.

The second goal was set up on a header from Rogers onto the foot of Mattila.

Gophers' keeper Melissa Smith made a diving save on the shot from Mattila, but Harrison found herself alone on the rebound for the score, giving the Rams a 5-0 lead.

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