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Banks girls fall to perennial power Valley Catholic

Lady Braves concede three goals in the first half to the 2012 small-school state runner-up


by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Banks junior midfielder Emily Vandehey (11) eludes a Valley Catholic defender during last Thursday's girls soccer match.Last Thursday, the Banks girls soccer team faced its toughest test of the young season, and that test revealed that the Lady Braves still have a little work to do.

On a sunny afternoon at Sunset Park, Valley Catholic put up three goals in the first half en route to a 4-0 victory. The Valiants improved to 4-1, while the Braves dropped to 2-1.

“I’m OK with a 4-0 loss to these girls. Valley Catholic’s a great team,” Banks coach Brian Reed said. “Every year they’re terrific ... and we’re building. But I’m mostly disappointed in that we didn’t give them a game, because I think we could have.”

Neither team could seize control early in the match, but Valley Catholic, last year’s Class 3A/2A/1A state runner-up, did so with authority starting midway through the first half. The Valiants cracked the stalemate when Mikaela Bernards carried the ball down the right side of the field, eluded a couple of Banks defenders, and sent a shot past Banks goalkeeper Holly Dotson into the left side of the goal.

Valley Catholic tacked on two more goals before the halftime whistle sounded, both courtesy of Sarah Connelly. On the first of those, Connelly chipped a shot over Dotson, and the other occurred on a corner kick from the right side of the field. Dotson fumbled with the tricky ball, which then slipped over the goal line, giving the Valiants a comfortable 3-0 lead at intermission.

Valley Catholic added one more goal after halftime, when Connelly ripped a shot from 25 yards out into the upper left corner of the goal for a hat trick.

Banks did threaten the Valley Catholic defense on several occasions. Emily Vandehey tried to equalize the score at 1-1 in the first half, but her shot went wide left of the goal. In the second half, Lauren Hill’s crack from 20 yards out went right to goalkeeper Amanda Carrera. And Cassie Streblow got her head on a corner kick, but Carrera was there to corral the ball.

“I think today our mental game was not there,” Hill noted. “I think we could have done a lot better, it’s just we thought we couldn’t beat them.”

The contest did have at least one silver lining, though, which was to prepare the Braves for Tuesday’s Cowapa League opener at home against Scappoose. The Indians are the four-time reigning league champions.

“This year we’re definitely going to give them a run for their money, because we have improved a lot and we’re bonding well as a team,” Vandehey said. “We have a lot more team chemistry than we did in previous years, and I think that this is the year that we can and will go far.”



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