West Salem — The Lady Titans opened their season Wednesday night against a tough task against the Central Catholic Rams at the Black Hole. West Salem was tagged as the ninth best team in the state according to the 6A Coaches Poll released in August, and the season opener gave the Lady Titans the opportunity to show off why they’re so highly ranked entering the season.
West Salem came out shooting like a machine gun early on, taking shots at will and controlling the pace of the game offensively. In the fifth minute, Fatima Jimenez would score on a rebound in the Rams goal box, giving the Lady Titans the opening goal of the match and a quick 1-0 lead on Central Catholic. The Lady Titans continued to set a blazing offensive pace while playing stiff defense, and they would extend their lead in the 23rd minute with a goal by Paige Alexander, making it 2-0 Lady Titans a little over halfway into the first half. Ten minutes later, Amani Noor tacked on a three goal lead with her first goal of 2019, and the Lady Titans were in command 3-0 at the half.
West Salem’s offensive pace went cold in the second half, but their defensive performance remained stellar, shutting down each attempt Central Catholic had at a goal and not backing down from the solid wall play. The Lady Titans would go on to win 3-0 over Central Catholic, opening 2019 with a victory for new Head Coach Whitney Pitalo and company. In the post game circle, Coach Pitalo named Fatima Jimenez as the Lady Titans offensive player of the game and Sarah Rice as the defensive player of the game. Jimenez, Rice, and Paige Alexander talked with Oregon’s Elite about their season opening win over the Rams.
Jimenez on West Salem’s stellar first half, “The coaches telling us to pass during the first ten minutes was really helpful because we got our first goal from it really fast, and the momentum pushed us to get our other goals in the half.” Alexander on the team goals entering the game, “One of the biggest goals we had was getting a shutout, which I think was crucial to winning this game, and our defensive line did a really good job of shutting them down and accomplishing that goal. The other goal was hard work and I feel the midfield gave out a hard work effort, which gave us that push to accomplish that hard work goal.” Rice on the defensive performance, “I think our defensive performance was really good this game and I’m really happy with the result of it. However, I think moving forward as a team we can push harder and capitalize on those moments when we could’ve in the second half and keep up the intensity the entire game.”