Forest Grove downs Newberg 2-1
The Newberg girls soccer team showed flashes of potential in its season opener Aug. 31 versus Forest Grove, but after graduating several multiple-year starters from last year's squad, the Tigers also showed their youth.
The team's lack of experience was evident at the back end, where the Vikings took advantage of some gaps in the line to score the go-ahead goal five minutes into the second half before hanging on for a 2-1 road victory.
"We made a couple mistakes and at this level you can't make mistakes and not get punished for them," coach Jon Halstead said. "Ashley Rickert made a good first save and bobbled the ball and Forest Grove just followed up. But we came out flat. It was a good learning experience for our girls who are inexperienced at this level. We have a lot of girls who are."
Newberg opened up the scoring in the 29th minute on a goal from senior forward Maggie Hodgdon. The score was the result of a set piece the team had worked on for the first time the day before at practice.
"Casey Novak hit the ball, we got a flick on — what we had been practicing — and Maggie was right in front of the goal to put it away," Halstead said.
Unfortunately, Forest Grove pressed its attack after play was restarted and was awarded a penalty kick following a challenge by sophomore Morgan Carsh.
"We weren't ready for them to come at us and that's inexperience," Halstead said.
Halstead credited Forest Grove for possessing the ball well and keeping pressure on Newberg's back line and was pleased with how his team responded to the loss the next day at practice.
"It's just a matter of timing and learning the pace of the game. I can talk to them until they're blue in the face, but until they actually get out there and feel it and experience it, you can't know it," Halstead said. "I thought Friday's practice was good. We talked about what we didn't accomplish, like having better first touches; we didn't do that. We didn't play together and we left a lot of space and gaps. We didn't shift together very well."
The Tigers returned to action Tuesday night at Franklin (results unavailable at press time) and will return to Loran Douglas Field Thursday for a 7 p.m. contest versus Aloha.
"All in all, I think it was a good learning experience and we'll move forward from here," Halstead said.