KEIZER, Ore.–With McNary Athletic Director Scott Gragg stopping the game due to poor air quality in the City of Keizer at the 16:11 mark of the first half, there was some confusion of course as both Battle Ground and the Lady Celtics walked off the pitch.
For McNary, they were looking to go 5-0 up 1-0 on the Lady Tigers of Washington when the game was called, looked it as practice for their young team as they now brace for a tough West Salem team.
“I was glad that we got to do what we did because we got a really big game on Tuesday against West Salem and they’re always a hard competitor, so I’m glad that we got the practice in and our defense got to work on their stragety,” said Abby Hawley on the game.
“Yeah we got some stuff to work on now, btu it’s going to be good,” added Sydney Snapp. “Was a weird feeling though.”
Snapp and the young backline only saw a few through balls during the 24 or so minutes of the game, but add in the other 320 minutes of shutout soccer and not allowing a single goal all season long, it’s easy to say that this line has been dominate to this point of the season.
“I’m really proud of them,” said Snapp on the defense. “We got a lot of underclassmen in our defense and they are doing really great, putting a lot of effort and we seem to be working very well together as a team.
“I think that’ll just come with time and playing. But they’ve been doing awesome working up to it so that’s awesome.”
And it’s too a sign of relief as well for them in the back when they see the midfield as they did Saturday, interrupting the defense of Battle Ground to set up their offense that has scored entering Tuesday’s game, 19 total goals on the season despite being young up-front as well.
“We’re a very young team this year and we’re actually really, really fast and so that’s been to our advantage, but we also have to work on calming down and playing possession and that’s another thing we’re working on,” said Hawley on the offense to this point of the season.
The Lady Tigers, the little bit they saw in terms of style of aggressiveness, will be similar to that of most of the teams in the Greater Valley Conference like a Sprague, a South Salem, a West Albany and the Titans; so the exposure will give them something to work on come Monday’s practice.
“It’s going to help keep our ball control and composure,” starts Snapp.
“Yeah because West Salem will play a real physical game against us and we are hoping to play to that same level that they are,” adds Hawley.
And with the GVC league starting with the Titans at West and then Forest Grove at home, the momentum mixed in with the talent that they have has the team looking forward to do some great things this season.
“Just compared to last year we’ve grown so much I’m so excited because we’re expected to go beyond Top 4 in the conference and we’ve never done that before,” said Hawley. “We’re like the underdogs so it’s really, really exciting.
“I don’t think anyone is really expecting it, I mean you can look when the last time we won league up in our gym and it’s in 1970-something and I’m really proud to be apart of this team because no one has ever seen McNary Girls Soccer like this.
Both Snapp and Hawley both agree that the mindset of the program has been changing since the two juniors were freshman as they have seen the growth of this program over the past few years since they’ve first put on the Lady Celtic uniforms.
Both the West Salem (Tuesday, at West) and the Viking games (Thursday, home) will start at 7pm.