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Valiants run past Hawks, fall to Catlin

Sarah Connelly notches five goals in the win over Horizon Christian
by: Miles Vance GOING STRONG — Valley Catholic’s Chelsea Alsdorf dribbles past Horizon Christian’s Jessica Murrell during her team’s 9-1 victory over the Hawks at Valley Catholic High School on Sept. 21.

BEAVERTON - The Valley Catholic girls soccer team didn't leave much on the table last week against Horizon Christian.

The Valiants, hosting the Hawks in a non-league game on Sept. 21, poured across six goals in the first half against Horizon Christian and used that fast start to fuel their 9-2 victory. Freshman forward Sarah Connelly broke through for five goals in the win, and junior midfielder Meg Rapp added two more.

'I've only gotten three goals once, so five is pretty cool,' Connelly said. 'I just think we were passing well and doing plays and working well together.'

'I thought we were doing really good at keeping the ball from the other team, playing to feet, getting wide and switching the field a lot,' Rapp said. 'I think that helps a lot. It opens up other options for us.'

'The scariest thing about playing an opponent that's not up to you is that you might play down,' added Valley Catholic coach Kayla Crandall. 'But from the beginning, the girls had lots of energy and took it to them.'

That result - along with a 2-0 loss to Catlin Gabel in its Tuesday District 1 opener - moved Valley Catholic's overall record to 3-2 while Horizon Christian fell to 0-5.

Indeed, Connelly had two

goals in the game's first 12 minutes, scoring early on a cross for a 1-0 lead, then connecting again after Rapp fed junior Chelsea Alsdorf and she sent the ball through the defense from the top of the Horizon penalty box for the score.

The Hawks answered with their first goal to cut that gap to 2-1, but Valley Catholic didn't blink. The Valiants stuck in four more goals in the final 24 minutes of the opening half to take complete control of the contest.

Connelly took a Rapp pass in the center of the penalty box and drove a hard shot to the left corner to make it 4-1 with 23:16 left before the half. Then it was Rapp's turn, collecting the ball in traffic in the upper left corner of the penalty box, dribbling into space and knocking the ball to the right side of the net with 8:04 to go before halftime.

Sophomore Makenzee Cleveland stepped up next, scoring on a long cross to the goal from the right corner to make it 5-1 with 5:32 remaining before the break. And Rapp capped the half when she made a run at the right side of the goal, sidestepped two defenders and Hawks' keeper Liz Caron, and tapped home an easy score.

'I feel like we're working well at playing wide and getting balls out wide and getting good crosses in and playing together well,' Connelly said. 'It opens up a lot of space to do quick passes and get people moving.'

Horizon Christian applied some pressure at the beginning of the second half, winning three corner kicks in the first three minutes, the last of those leading to a long shot by Maddie Clark that was stopped by VC keeper Katie Vames.

But it was Valley Catholic that scored next, with Connelly's corner kick from the right side going to junior Claire McLoughlin at the top of the penalty box and she drove a shot to the left corner of the goal to boost her team's lead to 7-2 nine minutes into the half.

The Hawks answered with 16:38 remaining when Lizzie Ng collected the ball 15 yards out of goal, turned past a VC defender and scored to make it 7-2.

The Valiants tacked on two more late scores, the first of those at the end of a long Connelly run up the right seam, and the second - credited to Connelly - on a Horizon Christian own-goal in the final minute.

'You can't go into every game thinking you're going to win. You need to play like you never know what team you're playing,' Rapp said. 'Come out your hardest and get those goals up on the board.'

'This team is working hard every day and they've gotten so much better,' Crandall added. 'There's always lots of room to improve, but seeing how far they've come in a month has us so excited for what's to come.'

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, go to www.milesvance.exposuremanager.com.