Support Local Journalism!        

Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.

FONT & AUDIO

MORE STORIES


Catlin Gabel couldn't score after an opening-minute goal while the Valiants poured it on late for fourth state title.



Things couldn't have started worse for the Valley Catholic High School girls soccer team in the 3A/2A/1A state championship game.

After coming under an early barrage from No. 1 seed Catlin Gabel, the Eagles scored 45 seconds into the match on a shot from Pia Patrikson, and it felt like the Valiants might be in trouble against their league foe who they lost to 2-1 earlier in the season.

Instead, the Valiants collected themselves and held the Eagles off the board the remainder of the first half.

"I think we got down on ourselves a little bit," said Malia Groshong, Valley Catholic junior standout. "As soon as the end of the first half went on, we started to gain momentum and knew we wanted it."

In the second half, Valley Catholic went to work.

The Valiants dominated possession for most of the second 40 and eventually scored the equalizer in the 55th minute on a corner kick from Calista Everson in which her entry pass curled into the back right corner for the goal.

That shot helped force overtime where Valley Catholic truly took over, scoring three goals, starting with a shot from Elizabeth Louie from about 40 yards out that went off the Catlin Gabel goalkeeper's hands and into the back of the net.

Groshong closed the door in the second overtime period with two goals right in front of the net, the first on a breakaway pass from Haven Zaw-Tun and the second off a corner kick.

That left the Valiants as 3A/2A/1A state champions with a score of 4-1, the fourth state title in program history and the first since 2017 when the Valiants won in 4A.

PMG PHOTO: RALEIGH EMERSON - The Valley Catholic girls soccer team poses with the 3A/2A/1A state championship trophy after beating Catlin Gabel 4-1 in overtime Nov. 12 at Liberty High School.

"We're just extremely happy. I couldn't have done it without my teammates," said Groshong, who was named the player of the match for Valley Catholic.

Groshong did more than score the final two goals for the Valiants. Her constant presence at the forward spot was a tall task to keep at bay for 80 minutes, let alone an extra 20 in OT for Catlin Gabel.

Toward the end of regulation, Groshong went all out on a steal attempt that worked and earned her a shot toward the net that curled left and wide. But that attack was just a foreshadow of the overtime periods to come.

PMG PHOTO: RALEIGH EMERSON - Valley Catholic girls soccer celebrates as Malia Groshong, front, is named the player of the match for the Valiants in their 4-1 state title win over Catlin Gabel on Nov. 12 at Liberty High School.

"I've been in a lot of big, Power Five schools and she's a phenomenal athlete to watch," Valley Catholic first-year head coach Morgan Fry said of Groshong. "Very versatile, I know I can put her in any position and she thrives. She dominates at everything she touches on the field. This is not a shock to anybody."

What makes the run to a state title more incredible for the Valiants is first-year coach Fry, who said this is her first season coaching soccer ever in her career after being a strength and conditioning coach at collegiate programs.

Couple that with the fact that Valley Catholic has only one senior on this 2022 roster, and it would have been understandable if the Valiants had a tougher season.

Instead, the young squad sits atop of the 3A/2A/1A realm for the state of Oregon.

"It was definitely different coming from collegiate to high school," Fry said. "My coaching is very militant and structured and expectations are high, but they caught on really quickly. As a team, it helped unify them mentally just as much physically, so that helped."

What helped for one duo might have been Malia and her younger sister, Madison Groshong, a freshman.

With Madison in the back as a defender and Malia up top attacking, the two made a powerful duo Saturday.

And they'll get a chance to do it all again next year.

"I think just trust, we trust each other," Malia said of the team's composure without many seniors. "I would put my life in all of them, we cover each other's backs. And (Madison) is like my best friend, so I love spending this with her."


You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.


Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!

Go to top