By Jeremy McDonald
ALEM, Ore.– The Blanchet Catholic Girls Soccer team has been kind of an under-the-radar program in recent years. Six-straight ten-win seasons and six-straight trips to the 3A/2A/1A playoffs that included a Semi-Final appearance in 2018 before the Covid-shortened season snapped the streak.
However the Cavaliers, short-handed and all during the six-week season, went 4-2-1 and finished second in the 3A/2A/1A Special District 2 to Dayton. Falling in the League Championship Game 2-0, but had fulfilled their goal of contending for a league title.
“Last year with covid and everything, with our numbers and our performance we did pretty well. I thought we played a pretty good season, we started off slow and after our first-game against YC (Yamhill-Carlton), our girls picked it up and were like ‘ok. It’s time to play’ and we’re ready to play,” said Head Coach Tina Pearson.
Blanchet fell to the Tigers in the opener 4-1 before defeating Yamhill-Carlton 1-0 four weeks later to close out the regular season with the eight seniors they had on their 16 player roster.
Entering this year, they’re in a similar boat. 14 players with five freshmen, but return a handful of experienced players from their Spring team. Ellie Pearson, Olivia Banning, Rebecca O’Dell and Audrey Day to name a few of the handful of returners for Blanchet this Fall.
Pearson pointed towards O’Dell to be their go-out option on the offensive attack this season. O’Dell showcased it last season as a junior. Day, a sophomore, stands at six-feet-tall.
“And she keeps getting better and better from last year to this year, she has improved so much with working with her. She’s a great kid and is always willing to learn and tough. Tough as nails,” Pearson said of Day.
Talia Lazarus brings some club experience going into her freshman year and Grace Weber contributes height and some strong field attributes going into her freshman year as well as the returners bringing them up to speed to the High School game.
“Their leadership is what’s going to help them get through and understand how it’s a different level when you’re playing at the Varsity level versus Mid-Hi. We got some talent, it’s just a matter of piecing it together,” Person said.
“Our goal is that we just got to get into shape, got to get in shape. If we get everyone in shape and we keep working on our skills and fundamentals, I think we’ll be fine.”
The Cavs open the season August 30 at Santiam Christian for a 6:15pm start time.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald