A late equalizer from Woodburn captain Myranda Marquez gave the Bulldogs a draw in their season debut.

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Woodburns Thalia Monroy battles for position against a visiting Crescent Valley player.

It was a clash of two heavyweights in the girls soccer standings. Crescent Valley was the No. 2 ranked team in the preseason polls at 5A and Woodburn was the No. 3 ranked team at 4A in the preseason polls, and both collided in Woodburn on Tuesday, Sept. 7. Ultimately, neither came away with a win as the two teams battled to a 2-2 draw.

It was the home team who struck first. Crescent Valley was called for a handball outside the goalie box and a free kick was taken. The ensuing strike bounced off the Raider's goalkeepers gloves and Woodburn junior Cassidy Garibaldo was there to clean it up, putting the ball in the back of the net eight minutes in.

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Junior Cassidy Garibaldo scored the opening goal against the visiting Raider, notching a put-back goal in the first half.

"One of the things we talked about right before the game … is the idea of coming out hard in the first 10 minutes," Woodburn coach Andrea Whiteman said. "We use the analogy of a balloon and that you're trying to poke a hole in the other team's balloon and when you score a goal early, it starts deflating earlier. Then as you start to score more, you poke more holes, and it starts to deflate even faster."

Woodburn had several more chances at goal in the first half, but the score remained 1-0 when the halftime horn sounded. The defense made life difficult for the Crescent Valley offense, limiting good looks on goal during the first stanza.

The next 40 minutes saw the game take on a totally different vibe. Crescent Valley came out firing, making inroads into the Woodburn backline. It was in the 22nd minute the Raiders evened the game up to a goal apiece when senior Meredith Merten blasted a shot into the top left corner of the net.

In the 17th minute Merten did it again, putting the ball away to give Crescent Valley a 2-1 lead. Woodburn goalkeeper Litzy Gonzalez blocked a Raider's shot on goal a minute later, which would prove pivotal down the stretch.

Woodburn junior Luz Rojas was moving down the left side of the pitch and crossed the ball over to a wide-open Myranda Marquez, who put the ball past the keeper into the left-hand side of the goal.

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Woodburn senior Myranda Marquez scored the equalizing goal in the second half to bring the game with Crescent Valley to a 2-2 draw.

"It happens a lot with her playing center mid … people mark her up in the middle," Whiteman said. "It's easier for her to get lost in the middle when there's a bunch of people around her. That was one of the adjustments we made in the second half was to move her onto the wing so she would be wide open. Then that beautiful ball from Luz came in, and we know she can finish so it's just a matter of getting it to her."

The equalizer came at the 15-minute mark, and it would remain there when the game ended.

"I think what we're going to be working on this year is, I don't think the girls know how good they are," Whiteman said. "Their confidence is there, but it could be even higher. At halftime we talked about when we step, step with purpose. Going in hard to the ball. Those are what we're going to work on going into the season."

Woodburn (0-0-1) heads into league play next when they host Sweet Home (1-1) on Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 6 p.m. Crescent Valley (1-1-1) will play North Bend (0-1) on Thursday, Sept. 9.

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