Girls soccer: Scappoose falls to Valley Catholic in regular season finale
The Indians, in spite of a 2-1 loss to the Valiants, will host a first-round game on Nov. 4
It's a mark of their brilliant regular-season run and nearly unbeatable play that, in spite of falling in the final match of the league schedule, the Scappoose girls will still host in the first round of the OSAA playoffs.
The Indians dropped a 2-1 heartbreaker to Valley Catholic on Tuesday evening in Beaverton, giving up a goal in the game's final moments to surrender the league title for the first time in six seasons.
Valley Catholic jumped on an early mistake to take a 1-0 lead when senior Sarah Connelly just managed to beat Tribe keeper Jessica Dykes in the eighth minute of the contest. The game winner, a header from Ella Turkot off a corner kick in the 77th minute, handed the Indians their first league loss since 2009.
Losing isn't something second-year head coach Nicholas Heffernan has had much to do with since taking over the program, but he prefers to see the loss as a learning experience rather than a roadblock.
Yes they're devastated they're not league champions, but does that mean they can't win state? Absolutely not, he said.
State. That's what we want. They played extremely well. The fight and the drive.
The Indians would need every ounce in their battle with Valley Catholic, who hadn't lost since dropping a 2-0 match to Catlin Gabel on Sept. 9. A mark of the Valiants' offense is what Heffernan will often scoff at as boot-and-run, but the three athletes up front for Valley Catholic make the style extremely effective if given enough space. To combat the Valiants' speed, Heffernan shifted junior midfielder Natalie Muth to partner with her sister Emily Muth along the back line. Containment of the home side's attack was the objective, along with maintaining close quarters with Valley Catholic when the girls in white moved on the attack.
For much of the match, with the exception of the early mistakes that led to the Valiants' initial goal, the rouse worked. Rarely were the Valley Catholic forwards able to beat Scappoose in the open field, and when a ball was played through Natalie Muth lept on it and sent it skyward and out of danger.
You saw her, she was just like Superwoman, just boop! Heffernan said, pantomiming a kick. Just needed speed today, and I said to the girls [that] this is the only game we'll ever do it, because no other team has three really fast forwards like Valley [does.]
Effectively dealing with Valley Catholic's speed up front often put Scappoose in strong position to counter, but with a stingy defense setting up in front of the goal the Indians didn't have much time to rest on ceremony.
Following a shutout of Banks on Oct. 21, Heffernan bluntly asked the squad to shoot when the opportunity arose in a match. After 3-0 win over Seaside and 80 minutes of futty with Valley Catholic, Heffernan said the team was still 'too nice,' but the newfound aggression showed especially that of junior midfielder Lucy Davidson.
After playing a goal down for the last quarter hour, Davidson did something many had been hoping to see more of: she refused to pass the ball. Her defender cut her off 40 yards from goal, and was promptly spun around to find Davidson a few yards past her, beating another defender and opening up a seam in the Valiants' defense. An instant was all Davidson needed, firing from just outside the 18 yard box to beat Valiant keeper Amanda Carrera and level the match at a goal apiece in the 21st minute.
Again, she knows she can do it. I think, for her, she has so much pressure on her, Heffernan said. She's got such a bright future, but I think sometimes especially in games like this she maybe feels 'it's all down to me,' and it's not. She can skip past six and put it in the top left corner when she wants to.
By virtue of the Valiants' equally high rating, a loss in the regular season finale didn't hurt Scappoose as much as it could have. The Indians dropped from No. 1 to No. 3, but remain ranked high enough to snag a bye and skip straight to the championship round of 16.
Scappoose will sit out of the play-in round before jumping back into action on Nov. 1, either at Chinook Field or a neutral site, depending on whether their home surface is playable.
But for the next few days, the finish to the regular season will sting until Scappoose can take to the pitch and wipe it away. It's an unfortunate ending for the Indians, who hit the uprights on several occasions in the second half and ran up against a brick wall during a scrum in the center of Valley Catholic's six-yard box. However, Valley Catholic was able to convert when they needed to, erasing each of the Indians' chances with three whistles at the end of the match.
There's so many positives from the game. Like I said, the only thing they did was that one slip up the first goal. Apart from that, we outworked them, Heffernan said. It's just one of those things in soccer, it happens.
Valley Catholic 2, Scappoose 1
SCAP 1 0 1
VLLY 1 1 2
VLLY Sarah Connelly 8'
SCAP Lucy Davidson 21'
VLLY Ella Turkot 77'JW_DISQUS_ADD_A_COMMENT