A win is a win, but not all losses are created equal.
The Forest Grove girls dropped a nonleague game, 2-0, to No. 7-ranked Beaverton of the Metro League Thursday night, Sept. 19, at Forest Grove High School, but despite the loss, Vikings head coach Ignacio Olvera was and continues to be impressed with his young — but talented — group of girls.
"Playing against the Metro League is tough, but we made them earn it," the coach said. "We have to fight for every ball, but we gave them a battle."
The undefeated Beavers (6-0) tallied their first goal midway through the first half, then a second late in the game, but the difference wasn't so much in what Beaverton was doing, but more so what Forest Grove was struggling with — finishing on the offensive end.
"We had opportunities, but we just couldn't put the ball away," Olvera said. "My forwards are young and they get pushed around a little bit, but the girls look good. I've got three freshmen in the field and sometimes these types of games are tough for freshmen, but next year they'll be more comfortable and they'll be fine."
The Vikings — who have four freshmen and five sophomores on their roster — have two freshmen in the starting lineup. In addition, on this night started freshman Aleena Calvert — who handled herself well — in goal, with help from what was for the most part a hardworking, solid back end.
"I was pleased with what I saw," said Olvera. "Beaverton is a good team and we gave them a battle. They've been scoring five, six, seven goals a game, so to keep them to two was nice to see."
Much of the early parts of the first half were played in the midfield as the two teams felt each other out. Beaverton however broke the ice in the 13th minute when the Beavers' Sydney Frank finished in what was ultimately an empty Forest Grove net as the Beaverton senior beat Calvert to a loose ball on a cross from the left side. The Vikings (3-2) had their first quality look roughly 10 minutes later when freshman Sophia Broberg narrowly misfired, then watched a couple more looks go wayward just before halftime.
The two teams traded opportunities early in the second, with the bulk of the Vikings' chances coming on set pieces from either the corner or free kicks from distance. Beaverton however cashed-in on what was ultimately their last quality look when sophomore Macy Deckert scored on a second touch in the Forest Grove box with 12 minutes remaining, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead and icing what was a close game throughout.
In the wake of the loss, Olvera said he's happy with the strides his young team is making and is excited to see where the girls go from here.
"I've been really happy with our performance so far," he said. "We won our first three games, but the Metro competition is a different story. Yet, I've seen improvement and the girls have grown so much since the first couple of games. They're moving the ball well, finding the point of attack, and just playing with more confidence, so we're getting there."
Forest Grove next plays Cleveland at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at Forest Grove High School, and will host Aloha at the same time Friday, Sept. 27.
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