Week 1/2 has been full of interesting observations and results in the early going. We all get caught up in our own schedules and its easy to miss things happening across the girls prep landscape, so here are the most interesting things that have happened through Week 1, 1.5, or 2 depending on your point of view:
Bend Goes Back To Back, Stuns 5A #8 Ridgeview and 6A #7 Barlow
The start to the Alyssa Dalgeish era in Bend got off to a rocky start, with the Lava Bears being outclassed 6-1 at Lake Oswego to open the season. They were solid with the Lakers for a while, but eventually fell apart defensively. On Tuesday, Bend faced up against 5A #8 Ridgeview and entered the half in a stalemate. Within the first 10 minutes of the second half, Bend netted three goals and got Coach Dalgeish her first W as head coach behind Sydney Sventek’s brace and Jordan Welsh’s netter. It was a huge win for Bend at the moment, but their biggest win was yet to come. On Wednesday, Bend held #7 Barlow scoreless and Peyton Gardner netted the game winner in the second half to upset the Bruins 1-0. Back to back upsets are nice for the Lava Bears, who were unranked by both coaches and media in preseason rankings but took down two ranked teams on back to back nights.
#5 Philomath Gets Past #4 North Marion, Enter Themselves Into The 4A Race
2021 4A Soccer is going to be all about catching #1 Marist, who were the near consensus top ranked team in the preseason coaches poll. Even without senior star Anna Watts, the Spartans look to be the favorites in the 4A race in 2021. Enter the Philomath Warriors, who boast one of the toughest defenses in the state and haven’t allowed more than one goal in a game since 2019. With a team full of experienced, young players, the Warriors didn’t disappoint and shut out defending 4A State Champion North Marion 1-0 to open the season. Philomath fell in the state semifinals to the Huskies, who eventually beat Marist to win the state title in the Spring, but it was Philomath who took this battle on Bailey Bell’s goal early in the second half. This is a huge test pass for Philomath, who have another test against high powered offensive team #7 Gladstone next week on the road.
What To Watch For The Rest Of Week 2
With three days left of games on the slate, there are plenty of matches with implications this early in the season. Here are the most notable games to put on the watchlist for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
#3 Sherwood at #1 Jesuit – A Top 3 6A soccer matchup goes to battle on Thursday, with the Bowmen trying to keep pace with the Jesuit dynasty on the road in Beaverton. While Jesuit is the heavy favorite, the Bowmen are capable of keeping this game a scoreless draw, while Jesuit hasn’t allowed a goal since 2019.
#7 West Albany at #5 North Eugene – The Elite Oregon Girls featured game for Thursday, this is a non-conference game pitting two top 10 teams in 5A. North Eugene got a practice session with Lebanon on Tuesday, mercy ruling the Warriors 8-0 but not facing much of a test. West Albany will be much tougher than their Mid-Willamette Conference counterparts and it should be a great game to watch!
#3 Corvallis at #8 Ridgeview – The Ravens fell in a stunner to Bend on Tuesday, and they now have to go back up against 5A contender Corvallis. This one is capable of going either way, although Corvallis does have the experience advantage on Ridgeview going into the match.
#3 St. Mary’s Medford at #1 Catlin Gabel – Two more power titans clash on Saturday, as the defending 3A/2A/1A state champions St. Mary’s look to take down Catlin Gabel on the road. The Eagles fell to 4A #1 Marist 2-1 on Monday, and will face a team just as tough from their own class on Saturday.
McNary at #10 Sprague – An early test will be underway in the Mountain Valley Conference with two main questions: Is McNary for real? Is Sprague for real? McNary is expected to be an under the radar threat to South Salem and Bend in the MVC, but they have to prove themselves against Sprague, who are always a tough outing against anyone in the MVC. This result might answer some questions pretty early or just cause more to appear.
#1 West Albany at #8 South Albany – The Linn County showdown will feature two top 10 teams from the same city. The Redhawks are coming off a shaky outing in Bend, but will have the fuel to show up for their crosstown rivals. West Albany looks to avoid a trap upset against their rival, who certainly have the capability to defeat the Bulldogs if the cards fall right.
4A #7 Philomath at 5A #5 Crook County – Their soccer counterparts opened with a W over North Marion, now volleyball looks to pick up a huge win over Crook County. Crook County opened with a win over defending 3A state champion Burns last week, and they have another test with 4A state champion Sisters on Saturday. This is a critical battle test for Crook County to show their legitimacy.
#1 St. Paul vs #5 Crane – An neutral site match pits together two of the top teams in 1A up at Dufur High School. Crane fell in a stunner to Grant Union on Saturday, but they are certainly still a top team in 1A. St. Paul looks to show their dominance, as the Buckaroos appear to be primed for a run at the 1A state title in 2021!