Woodburn girls soccer suffer 7-0 defeat in season opener
WOODBURN, Ore.—With temperatures reaching the upper 90s on the home turf, Woodburn girls soccer team welcomed one of the best teams in the state in Jesuit. The Crusaders won 7-0 after a five-goal first half, forcing the Bulldogs into an 0-1 start to the season.
It was a wake-up call for last year's 4A state champions who came into the game having not lost in 17 straight games. In under 20 minutes Jesuit led 2-0 while stymying any Woodburn offense in the attacking third. The first 20 minutes of the game were a tough way to cap the first day of school for the Bulldogs.
In addition, the heat noticeably affected the home team.
"I think (the heat) was a huge factor," Woodburn head coach Andrea Whiteman said. "Both of our center backs came out. They're two of our strongest, they usually play all of every game, and both of them came out feeling nauseous and not feeling up to par. I think it would have been a similar result without the heat because I think it affected both of us equally. But I thought they battled well despite the heat."
It was also a physical game, but not one where Woodburn was obviously being bullied on the pitch. Jesuit was the larger team, but the Bulldogs battled for the ball at all levels of the pitch. In the second half, senior goalkeeper Litzy Gonzalez came out for a save and collided in with a Crusader striker. While Gonzalez hit the ground hard, she only stayed on the turf for a little while.
Encountering the toughness of a top 6A team was a good thing, according to Whiteman.
"I think it's good for us feel that, sometimes you don't feel the physicality until the playoffs, so I'm glad to feel people pushing them off the ball now," Whiteman said. "I do feel like we battled back."
Woodburn's goals haven't changed since moving up to 5A. The team still wants to collect shutouts and score within the first 10 minutes of play. While neither happened against visiting Jesuit, Whiteman was encouraged that her team didn't pack it up at half. It also helped her and her coaching staff identify areas the team can improve in the four weeks until their first clash in the Mid-Willamette Conference.
One of those things to improve upon is how the team defends corner kicks. Another is how to meet those goals early in play.
"The things we worked on, what I wrote down on my clipboard, was do the work early," Whiteman said. "It's hard when you're tired because you end up chasing, and it's kind of counterintuitive; you don't want to do the early work, but if you do the early work you'll do less running in the long run."
Woodburn (0-1) will have its next chance at a 5A victory when they clash with the Putnam Kingsmen on Tuesday, Sept. 6.
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