Beaverton — Monday featured a showdown between two small school soccer powers, 4A #2 ranked Marist and 3A/2A/1A #2 Catlin Gabel. This season opener was a highly anticipated matchup between two teams fully capable of winning their respective state championships, and the game was as advertised to be.
Marist’s Youth Draw First Blood On Catlin Gabel
This contest was hotly fought from the very start, as both teams took turns changing possession and presenting physical play on both ends of the game. In the 10th minute, Freshman Ella Braunger was in an awkward position to play the ball, but she nonetheless delivered a beautiful cross that was put in by Sophomore Cloe Chase. The connection allowed Marist to strike first in a game where scoring would be extremely limited and opportunities few. This would be the only score of the first half, as Marist and Catlin Gabel spent lots of time trading possession and finding few solid opportunities offensively.
Farhang Gets Redemption, Ties The Match
Catlin Gabel came out swinging to start the second half, going on the aggressive front offensively and putting the Spartans in defensive retreat. Catlin Gabel’s Aanna Farhang had a solid shot attempt at Marist’s Tessa Woodrum in the 50th minute, but it was denied by the senior goalkeeper. In the 55th minute, Farhang would have another opportunity off a free kick and got redemption, tying the game on a shot to the lower left corner of the net.
Marist Goes On The Attack, Fuller Becomes The Hero
After giving up their 1-0 lead, Marist decided to copy Catlin Gabel’s philosophy and go on a fierce offensive attack themselves. In the 60th minute, it paid off when Savannah Crawford delivered a beautiful free kick look to Senior Captain Madison Fuller, who headed the ball in to give Marist the lead back 2-1. For Marist, their youth delivered both goal assists and the first goal of the match, giving Head Coach Stefan Schroffner a taste of what they can do against tough opponents.
Marist’s Defense Steps Up, Hangs On For The Win
For the rest of the match, Catlin Gabel was on the attack and showed some nice offensive tactical play in the final 20 minutes. However, when called upon to, the Spartans answered by stiffening the defense and not allowing the Eagles any prime opportunities at the net. This disciplined play and defensive attack allowed Marist to hang on 2-1 and take down Catlin Gabel on the road.
Marist: Although they were outshot, they did have more tactical opportunities to score and ultimately did, taking advantage of the few chances they were handed by the Catlin Gabel defense. Aside from the one goal off the free kick and a couple direct shots at Woodrum, the Spartans didn’t allow Catlin Gabel any legitimate opportunities to score and forced them into bad situations when shooting at the net. Ultimately, their defense is what will get them far in 2021. Also, their youth stepped up huge for them, accounting for both assists and one goal, which will be crucial with the loss the star Anna Watts for the season.
Catlin Gabel: For only having two seniors, the Eagles played exceptional against Marist and should be extremely proud of their efforts. Their ability to possess the ball offensively and have a disciplined press when losing is a huge sign of encouragement. Defensively, they played well but gave the Spartans one too many opportunities to score, allowing Marist many chances to make a play on crosses and corner kicks. However, the Eagles should be the favorite to win the 3A/2A/1A state title this season and they can only improve from this hard loss to Marist.