North Marion defense stymies Valley Catholic
AURORA — While North Marion didn't get any goals of its own, the girls soccer team held the high-flying Valley Catholic scoreless after 80 minutes of play Thursday, Sept. 9.
"I think we're growing," North Marion head coach Ben Bonser said. "We have a lot of young girls on the team, so these games they get a little bit better. They get a better idea of how we want to play and this level of competition."
The Huskies were coming into the contest on the heels of a 1-0 loss to Philomath (1-1) back on Aug. 31, whereas Valley Catholic was riding a two-game winning streak including a 6-1 drubbing of Estacada. Both teams were hungry for a win in the early goings of the season.
North Marion got things started strong on the home field, winning a corner kick less than three minutes into the first half. Sophomore midfielder Caile Lader took the kick, sending it into the box where it was fielded by the Valley Catholic goalkeeper. Two minutes later, senior Teagan Welch had a shot on goal that was, again, saved by the Valiants' keeper.
After those strikes though, it was tough sledding for North Marion offensively. The team had trouble working together passes and fighting deep into the final third against Valley Catholic. Conversely North Marion's defense kept the visiting team from getting clean looks at the net, and senior goalkeeper Mallory Patzer made some crucial saves.
North Marion got more looks in the second half but couldn't muster the winning goal by the final horn.
"We've had kind of a disjointed lineup this last week in practice, and coming into today, we just barely got a couple of our starters back," Bonser said. "So that being said, we're happy with the result. Obviously we would have loved to have scored, but it just didn't happen there."
Going forward, Bonser hopes that the team will have more time playing together to really build some chemistry on the field, particularly on offense.
"I think getting players back is going to help, obviously," Bonser said, referring to sophomore Saylor Swanson and senior Dominque Huapeo who, among others, was forced to miss practice due to injury or quarantine. "We'll start connecting in practices and not just hoping it's going to happen in a game. Just finding that final third and getting good finishing touches. We had a few touches, got a few shots, but I didn't see anything I thought was too dangerous today."
North Marion (0-1-1) takes to the road in its next game, heading down to Silverton (1-1-1) on Tuesday, Sept. 14. Valley Catholic (2-0-1) will host Gladstone (2-0) the same day.
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