By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It is expected in recent years to see Blanchet Catholic and Dayton Girls Soccer battling for the 3A/2A/1A Special District 2 title. And it’s always a battle when the two soccer strongholds meet.
For how young the Cavaliers are this year, they found themselves in second-place. Chasing the Pirates ahead of them as sophomore Audrey Day and her defense held Dayton’s aggressive attack to a Melissa Arroyo first-half goal in Dayton’s 1-0-win Monday night at Blanchet Catholic.
Both brought in the internal fires into the game. The Pirates, their loss to Yamhill-Carlton Thursday that snapped their six-game winning streak drove them. All they needed was that one goal, but couldn’t add to their lead knowing that Rebecca O’Dell and the Cavs offense could turn this game around on Dayton.
“Our loss to YC was a reality check. I feel like we came into this game (Monday) wanting to win and that mentality in playing harder and having fun with it,” Arroyo said. “I feel like this game taught us that it’s not all about scoring, it’s all about working as a team and making open shots and pushing through it. We may be up one, but you never know.”
Despite having five freshmen and five sophomores on their Varsity roster this year, Blanchet sits 5-4-1 on the year and 5-3 in league as they picked up the pace against the Pirates the second time around with the upstart Amity/Western Christian squad Wednesday back in Salem.
“This year with the freshmen coming in and the majority of our team being freshmen, I think we’re doing pretty well with how fast we’re learning,” Day said. “I think compared to last time, especially the last time we were playing Dayton, we really improved on how we passed.
“They were passing around us last time and this time we had a little bit more of an advantage and we just have to finish our shots. I think we just need to finish our shots and we’ll be perfect.”
The Pirates will turn their focus Wednesday against Gervais Wednesday as they look to stay ahead of the Cavaliers, Yamhill-Carlton and the Warriors who are right behind them in the league standings. Using that loss to the Tigers as motivation coming down the stretch of the regular season.
“Even though we were ranked high, you never know. Never think that they’re not more of a competition than they are for us than we think,” Arroyo said.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald