Higgins scores the game-winner in a 1-0 victory
The win did not come easily. But the 2012 Class 4A state finalist La Salle Falcons kicked off their 2013 Tri-Valley Conference boys soccer season with a win, defeating North Marion 1-0 in a Sept. 19 game at North Marion.
It was the first loss of the young season for the Huskies (3-1-1, 0-1-0).
Defense continued to be huge for the Falcons (3-2-0, 1-0-0), who have yielded just two goals in their first five games of 2013.
James Higgins was the Falcons' hero on offense. Just nine minutes into the fray, the junior midfielder put the ball in the net off a long throw-in from senior Nico Marquez-Stock.
The ball went all the way through the box and James finished it just inside the post, observed La Salle assistant coach Derek Ray.
It was the third shutout for La Salle junior keeper Dylan Tran
Ray said of North Marion, We know they are one of the best teams in our league and it's always tough to play them at their place.
Ray added, Our players executed our game plan perfectly. By doing that we were able to take them out of their game and frustrate them.
Ray said that the Huskies were able to generate only a couple of shots on-frame, while his Falcons had several chances that they were unable to finish.
We know every game in our league will be tough, Ray said. Our players are starting to play with intensity and passion that we have been trying to instill in them. If we play with that type of desire, we will be hard to beat.
The Falcons play cross-town rival Gladstone (3-2-0, 0-1-0) on the road this Thursday; they travel to Madras (3-1-0, 1-0) next Tuesday for a showdown with the White Buffaloes.
La Salle girls
La Salle girls also got it done last Thursday, as they opened Tri-Valley Conference play with a 3-0 shutout of North Marion.
The Falcons were the only TVC girls team to open the league season with a win. Gladstone and Molalla battled to a 1-1 tie, while Estacada and Madras played to a scoreless standoff at Madras.
We did a good job of creating chances, but had a hard time finding that finishing touch, said La Salle girls coach Ryan Cereghino.
The Falcon soccer boss had his side with a 23-6 advantage in shots on-frame, as they clearly dominated the play.
At halftime, our team goal was to push the tempo, and I feel we did a good job of achieving that goal, Cereghino said. Our passes were quicker and we moved the ball around much better.
The Falcons got goals from three different players. Bailey Higgins struck near the midpoint of the first half, taking advantage of a weak clearance to score unassisted.
Just a few minutes later, Kate Christoferson made it 2-0, when she scored during a scrum following a corner kick. Her shot, deflected off the keeper and into the net.
Tori Goodman upped La Salle's lead to 3-0 just a minute after the intermission. Rachael Gottsch sent a ball to the right side of the box; Goodman ran onto it and one-touched it over the keeper and inside the far post.
The win put the Falcons at 1-0-0 in league and 3-2-0 on the season.
La Salle coeds face a stiff test this Thursday, when they entertain defending state champion Gladstone (3-0-2). The Gladiators allowed just two goals in their first five games.