Beaverton — Its been well known for awhile that 4A is chasing #1 Marist this season….again, which has has a number of teams jousting for the ability to stake their claim to challenge the Spartans for the state title. Tuesday presented two more teams wanting their crack at a resume building win, #3 Gladstone Gladiators and #4 Valley Catholic Valiants. These two entered known for polar opposite things: Gladstone with their machine gun offense, Valley Catholic with a suffocating defense. In a classic offense vs defense pairing, it was the offense that prevailed in this one.
Gladstone Sets The Tone, Grim Picks Up A Brace
From the opening kick, it was clear that Gladstone would be in control offensively, forcing the Valiants into a defensive retreat for most of the half. The Gladiators owned the possession at least 70%+ in the opening half, and it didn’t take long for them to execute on that advantage. Ten minutes in, Junior Rhyli Grim kicked off the scoring, drilling a shot into the right corner of the net to get Gladstone up 1-0 on Valley Catholic early, marking only the second goal allowed by the Valiants in 2021 so far. After some more chances that fell flat, the Gladiators found Grim again, this time with her taking the goalkeeper up close for the netter and giving herself a brace and Gladstone a 2-0 lead that they would carry into the half.
Valley Catholic Comes More Aggressive, Grim Notches A Hat Trick
After a half of nothing going on offense, the Valiants came out swinging harder in the second half, trying to cut into the two goal deficit and get more touches on offense. About six minutes in, Valley Catholic got a corner kick that ended up in a scramble in front of the net, with the Gladiator goalkeeper falling down in the madness. Valley Catholic tried to take advantage, but quick thinking defenders stopped that attempt at the net to keep it scoreless in the 46th minute. The Valiants would continue to put pressure on offensively, but it simply didn’t matter.
Rhyli Grim, already with a brace, decided that two wasn’t enough and wanted a hat trick, so she got loose on a rebound opportunity and drilled in her third of the game, putting her third ranked squad ahead comfortably 3-0 on #4 Valley Catholic in the 50th minute. Teams would trade possession until the Valiants had another corner kick chance in the 63rd minute, attempting two shots at the net just to be rejected by the defense and have it cleared out of the zone. The Gladiators would cruise 3-0 to deal Valley Catholic their first loss of 2021 and improve to 3-0 on the season.
Valley Catholic: Offensively they were average at best, which has been the theme in their two games against high ranked 4A opponents, a combined zero goals and no support for their raucous defense. It doesn’t matter how well your defense does if you can’t score, and that’s the glaring problem that Valley Catholic faces. Defensively, they played good but needed to tighten down more on Grim, who had two open opportunities and scored them both. Overall, their defense is as advertised, but the offense must score in order to compete with the big dogs.
Gladstone: The big question was if their offense could play with a good defense, and they answered that pretty well. Their cast of characters on offense include Grim, Sam Jedrykowski, Hanne Hopkins, and others, playing the ball great and putting pressure on a tired Valiants defensive core. While Grim netted the hat trick, hats off to the help she got in pulling off the feat. The defense was solid and kept Valley Catholic at bay, aside from 2-3 golden opportunities that they had to score on them. Clean up the corner kick defense and I think Gladstone might be the best team to challenge Marist as of now in 4A!