Jesuit girls soccer loses streak, but wins match over Tualatin, 3-1
Tualatin did something in their game with Jesuit that hasn't happened in quite some time, but ultimately Jesuit did what they almost always do â€“ win.
Maya Loudd scored the first goal against a Crusaders team in 26 games, but that momentum only carried the No. 7-ranked Timberwolves to the 60th minute when Jesuit's Naomi Alvarez netted what would be the game-winner en route to a 3-1 victory Thursday night, Sept. 23, at Jesuit High School.
With the win the Crusaders (6-0) remained undefeated, but more important than the result, Jesuit head coach Steve Fennah said his young team got better — and their response to Loudd's goal was proof of just that.
"We're a very young group, so I'm pleased with how we played," Fennah said. "I think we were nervous in the first half and got a little bit of pressure on us. I don't think we reacted great to it, but we regrouped at halftime and responded very well."
After threatening to do so for much of the early going, Jesuit took a 1-0 lead when senior midfielder Taylor Krueger cracked one from 25 yards just over the outstretched hands of Tualatin goal keeper Cate Van Valin.
The Timberwolves (2-1-2) evened things 12 minutes later when Loudd took a ball near midfield, dribbled her way through a hole in the Jesuit defense and finished in the left side of the net, ending the Crusaders' streak of 25 straight shutouts.
Things slowed down from there, with the two teams doing battle mostly in the midfield. Jesuit got a great look when Alvarez crossed a beautiful ball to freshman Claudia Rose in the 34th minute, but Rose's shot missed wide right and the teams went to the half tied 1-1.
While the visiting Timberwolves were noticeably amped heading to the half even with the top-ranked Crusaders, the home team appeared more upset with the first-half outcome. After losing 12 players from last spring's team to graduation, Jesuit starts four freshmen and two sophomores, which harkens questions as to how they'll respond to adverse situations. Fennah said they got some answers on this night, and ones he feels are encouraging for their prospects going forward.
"We made a few changes and the response was good," the Jesuit coach said. "They (Jesuit players) took a little heat from the visiting crowd in the first half, the game was physical, and they were playing against a good team. I credit Tualatin for bringing that to us, and in all those areas I really saw growth."
Youth may be a big factor for the Crusaders going forward, but this night was more about the seniors. Krueger's initial goal was matched by Alvarez midway through the second half, when the team's only other senior starter beat Van Valin to a long ball and centered the goal to give Jesuit the lead.
The Crusaders added a third goal when Rose finished a loose ball in the box in the 71st minute.
While disappointed, Tualatin head coach Kale Dwight had nothing to but good things to say about his team and their effort against the always formidable Jesuit squad.
"I'm really proud of the girls," Dwight said. "They played really well, we linked together passes well, but we just got tired at the end."
The coach said he thought his team would only get better from having played the No. 1-ranked Crusaders, and said they'd use their performance tonight to gauge both where they're at and where they need to be in order to compete with the state's best. Additionally, he marveled at Jesuit's aptitude on the pitch and complimented their ability to pressure at all times.
"Their first touch is really, really good," he said. "They're better than any team I've seen thus far. They're really strong and we're not quite there yet, but we did well and I'm proud of our kids."
Tualatin is next scheduled to play at Wilsonville on Sept. 29.
Jesuit is scheduled to play at Lakeridge Monday, Sept. 27.
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