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Girls soccer: Tribe coach questions aggression as Valley Catholic looms

Scappoose beats Banks 3-0, but it was still the 'worst performance of the season' according to head coach Nicholas Heffernan


Photo Credit: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Scappoose junior Natalie Muth fights a pair of Banks defenders for the ball midway through the first half. Muth scored in the 12th minute, opening the vault as the Indians beat Banks 3-0.While most coaches would be happy with a 3-0 win, Nicholas Heffernan wasn't at all pleased with the Indians' performance after their shutout of Banks on Tuesday afternoon.

In fact, he chose to answer a few questions before the post game huddle, not after it. Visibly frustrated, Heffernan didn't mince words right off the bat.

“Rubbish. Just all-around rubbish, honestly,” he said, haltingly. “It was our worst performance of the season. Really poor.”

Heffernan wasn't upset with the defense. Nor was he unhappy about the play in the midfield, or the team's ability to move the ball into the attacking third.

It is, perhaps, a result of teaching a team to possess the ball instead of simply booting over the top in a mad dash for the goal: Heffernan thinks the team passes a little too much.

“We just don't shoot,” he said. “We're too nice.”

The 'nice-ness' and cohesiveness mean Scappoose can hold the ball till the cows come home, halting Banks on the attack and getting the ball forward before stalling out in the final third of the field. Heffernan's frustration comes from sitting in silence in the grass near mid field stewing over missed chances when the team should have attempted a shot on goal.

“But they don't, they try and pass and pass and pass,” Heffernan said. “I can see — I've got a perfect view — I can see a massive gap. Shoot the ball. You can hear the fans start shouting, 'Shoot, shoot, shoot!' They don't shoot. You can't score without shooting.”

Early in the game, especially in the first half, Scappoose did take a few shots. Aside from some wild saves and an ounce or two of luck for Banks, the Indians were successful.

12 minutes in, junior Natalie Muth put Scappoose on top 1-0 after dashing right up the middle and slotting it past the Banks keeper. 15 minutes later, fellow junior Lucy Davidson put the Indians up two goals to one, shortly after having a shot from outside the box bounce off the top of the crossbar.

Scappoose led 2-0 at the break, but it wasn't quite as comfortable a two-goal lead as it could have been. Banks played the home Tribe for a scoreless 39 minutes in the second half before Davidson darted into the box and stole a brace in the 79th minute, adding to the Scappoose lead with just ten seconds remaining the match.

But even with Davidson's goal to lighten the mood after the final whistle, Heffernan knew he needed to recapture the teams focus. Winning a league title, snaring an all-important first-round bye and securing home-pitch advantage for the postseason are all up in the air as Scappoose travels to visit Valley Catholic next week.

“We get to the end, now, of the season and playoffs are going to start happening and Valley Catholic's going to be happening in a week. They have to step it up. That's it,” Heffernan said. “It's up to them. I put my confidence in them. If they want it, they can have it, but going by this performance, it's not going to happen for them. So they're going to have to make some changes quickly.”

A lack of aggression is the biggest complaint from Heffernan, who coached the team to a nearly four-goal average in their 2013 state title season. This year, the Indians are scoring at a higher clip — 4.83 goals per match — but it's still below the high standard set for the squad.

Unlike last season, when Heffernan stood at the end of the home bench and called out to his players, he typically spends the match crouched down in silence, simply watch the team play and interact amongst themselves. Changes, when they're needed, are often made in practice. The message on Monday before the Banks match was this: if you see an open shot, take it. Period.

“An hour and a half we spent on that yesterday in practice,” Heffernan said. “It's like through one ear, out the other. It baffles me.”

There is, however, good news ahead of next week's match with Valley Catholic. Seaside doesn't exactly loom as a dangerous opponent in the Tribe's next outing, and it could provide a chance for the team to push themselves up front and get used to taking chances once they present themselves. Earlier this season Scappoose flattened Seaside 7-0 — no surprise, a response to letting in a goal against Banks — and should get chances aplenty in the rematch on the coast.

SUMMARY

Scappoose 3, Banks 0

BANK 0 0 — 0

SCAP 2 1 3

Goals:

SCAP — Natalie Muth 12'

SCAP — Lucy Davidson 26', 79'

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