Mistakes account for 10 of the 12 goals conceded by the Indians this season

by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Indians' midfielder Lucy Davidson dribbles through a wave of oncoming attackers. The Indians gave up three goals in the first half and a goal in the second in a shutout to Oregon Episcopal School on Thursday, Sept. 19.The Lady Indians rode an emotional high this week, following their first victory of the season. Thursday, that ride came to a crashing halt. Oregon Episcopal School (4-0-2) cruised into Scappoose, and cruised home with a 4-nil defeat of the Indians to drop the Tribe’s record to 1-3.

Coach Nicholas Heffernan had good things to say to his team after the match. He complemented the midfield, especially, but pointed out that, if not for mistakes, the Indians wouldn’t have given up many goals whatsoever this season.

Not every goal can be prevented. Sometimes, you just get beaten, but there are other times that a misplayed ball, a mental relapse or a bad touch can lead to a goalscoring opportunity for the opposition. It is this kind of goal that Heffernan wants to eliminate.

“We’ve conceded 12 goals now in four games, and ten of those are because of us and our mistakes,” he said. “If we didn’t make mistakes, we’d have only conceded two goals.”

Mistakes were never as apparent as Scappoose’s loss to OES on Thursday. Less than a minute into the match, Mikaelah McKinney-Griggs darted forward and jumped on a chance when the Indian defense misplayed a ball inside the penalty box and put the Ardvarks up 1-0. Less than two minutes later, OES scored again in a scrum to put the road team up a pair.

“From that point, we’re backtracking against it, and we have to work even harder. That means we get more tired and can’t be as aggressive,” said Heffernan.

Aggressiveness and a ferocious attitude is something that Heffernan hopes to see out of his team in the coming weeks. The Indians didn’t take many shots against the Ardvarks, even when they had maneuvered into good scoring position.

“We’re too nice, we’re just so nice,” said Heffernan. “When I’m playing midfield, I take it on myself that if I don’t score these goals, my team’s not going to win. I’ll pass, I’ll get in position and take a touch. If I can see the goal, I’ll take a shot.”

The aggressive mindset has slowly started to catch on, and Heffernan just hopes that in time, the players will instinctually know to make plays without any direction from the sideline, in addition to being less ‘nice’ when working for possession.

“Make it a clean tackle, but when you get that ball, get ‘em out of the way,” he said. “Once you get them out of the play, you’ve got the ball, she’s on the floor and you can take off.”

That was a halftime adjustment, particularly on the Ardvark’s speedy forward, McKinney-Griggs, who was a handful in the first 40 minutes. Heffernan instructed his team to use their bodies to knock her off the ball and keep her from getting comfortable. After a noisy first half, McKinney-Griggs was a non-factor, something that Heffernan hopes to use in games down the road.

All in all, the Indians have some building blocks to use. Limiting mistakes, getting players back from injuries and learning to be meaner and more aggressive on the field could see Scappoose turn things around in a big way this season as their league schedule arrives. The next two won’t be pushovers, either, with matches against Banks (2-1-0) on Sept. 24 and at Seaside (3-1-0) on Sept. 26.

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