Lady Vikings working hard to improve team play
Forest Grove girls show promise despite lopsided losses to Tualatin, McMinnville
Undoubtedly, last week was a tough one for the Forest Grove girls soccer team.
The Vikings saw their level of competition step up significantly last Tuesday, when they opened Pacific Conference play by suffering a 9-0 drubbing from state power Tualatin. Two days later, the team spotted McMinnville an early two-goal lead en route to a 4-0 defeat.
Coach Jaime Ramos youthful squad which includes only three seniors and a whopping 13 sophomores is suffering through some growing pains, to be sure, but to him it is all part of the process.
We are a young team, and when I say young, that also means experience-wise, Ramos said Thursday, standing in the cool night air after the McMinnville match. In Forest Grove, we dont have a lot of club players like Tualatin.
Were still very young, but the good thing is, in our school right now, we have a group of girls that really work hard and they want to improve and they want to get better. Sometimes losing is part of the development, and we believe in that. We need to learn from it.
Even over the course of the McMinnville game, some of that development was evident. The Lady Vikings (4-2-2, 0-2-0) trailed by three goals at intermission, but a talk at the break resulted in a shift in attitude and a more attack-oriented team in the second half. Forest Grove did concede one more goal but also showed that it too could be dangerous on offense, creating several scoring opportunities.
We were looking for attacking more than defending and we were really getting into the other side to create chances, Ramos noted. We had a couple chances, we just didnt finish.
In fact, if not for a missed penalty kick, the Vikings would have played the Grizzlies even in the second period. Late in the match, Ashton Carow and Dominique Duncan worked a give-and-go to get into McMinnvilles penalty area, where Duncan drew a foul to set up the PK opportunity.
Veronica Campuzano a young player who shows a lot of promise in the middle of the park put the ensuing shot where the Grizzlies goalkeeper had no chance of saving it. Unfortunately for the home side, the strike was a little high and wide, and the ball bounced off the upper right corner of the woodwork and away from the goal.
Over the next couple of seasons, players like Carow, Campuzano and Duncan could be those who help orchestrate a resurgence by Forest Grove, which finished a close second to Tualatin in the conference back in 2009 and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs.
Carow and Campuzano both play club soccer, and Ramos said that he expects another five players to join them in the club ranks this winter, which could pay huge dividends for the school team in future seasons.
Ramos said his focus is to develop a well-rounded squad, noting that his team has been focusing a lot on defense recently and that its passing was not very precise during Thursdays game.
We need to create balance now, because we cannot just focus on defending, Ramos noted. We have to attack. We have the players that can attack. Right now, we dont look like a balanced team. We look like we just want to defend.
The Vikings showed flashes of promise last Thursday. Continued work and additional experience could turn that promise into reality for this large group.
The strength of the pack is the pack, Ramos said. So the more we stay together, the more we fight together, the more we sacrifice each other for the team, I think its going to be good results.