It will be no cakewalk in the TVC this fall

The defending state champion Gladstone Gladiators learned last Thursday that the race for the Tri-Valley Conference girls soccer title is likely to be a dogfight this season, as they battled Molalla to a 1-1 standoff in their conference opener, played at Gladstone.

“In terms of effort, I was pleased with everyone’s performance,” Gladstone coach Steve Thomas said. “We just need to be a little more patient on offense.... [Molalla is] a good side. They are a team to be reckoned with.”

Thomas had his Gladiators with a 17-5 advantage in shots. He said Gladstone goalie Molly Webster made three saves, while Molalla’s keeper made eight saves. He said his Gladiators earned four corner kicks, while Molalla didn’t have a single corner.

Molalla struck first, scoring in the 32nd minute. Molalla senior Bianca Delgado sent a free kick forward and freshman Leilani Lopes volleyed the ball in the air, sending a rocket past Webster and into the net.

Kelsey Hathaway answered for Gladstone just a minute into the second half. Riley Webster took possession near midfield, dribbled the ball 10 yards and sent it ahead to Hathaway. Hathaway beat two defenders and blasted the ball toward the net. The keeper deflected it, but Hathaway followed up the deflection and put the ball away.

The Gladiators upended Stayton 3-0 in a Sept. 16 match at Stayton.

The Gladiators outshot the outmatched Eagles 31-1.

Megan White scored twice for Gladstone and Hathaway added the third tally. White got assists from Hathaway and from Rosa Magana.

Hathaway got an assist from White, as she made it 3-0 in the 69th minute.

Sophomore Madi Stirling was in-goal for Gladstone, but was untested.

Gladstone (3-0-2, 0-0-1) faces another stiff test this Thursday, when the Gladiators battle La Salle (3-2-0, 1-0-0) on the road.

“La Salle always has a good defense,” said Thomas. “On paper, it looks like they have an offense to go with the defense this year. It should be a great game. The bottom line, whoever plays their game is going to win.”

In boys soccer last week, Gladstone (3-2-0, 0-1-0) lost to Molalla 1-0 on Thursday, after defeating Class 5A Roosevelt 6-1 earlier in the week.

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