It doesn’t get much more tantalizing than it does in girls’ soccer if you play for Marist Catholic, the seeming outlier in a sport that has been dominated by private schools in the modern era. In five previous shots at the ultimate crown, the Spartans have fallen short of the glory at the hands of other dominant programs, including their opponent on Saturday: Hidden Valley. There have been two previous state championship meetings between these teams, both of which were won by the Mustangs in 2006 and 2007. However, 2022 is a hope to be a chain breaking moment for the Spartans as they try to capture the elusive state championship.
For this edition of the Marist Spartans, they have a lethal dual offensive combo with senior Sela Freeman and junior Cloe Chase leading the charge. Sela plays a two-way role with goal scoring and being an offensive playmaker, leading 4A in assists and second in goals behind Gladstone’s Rhyli Grim. In the semifinal win over North Marion, Sela had a direct goal contribution and an assist via a corner kick to get Cloe Chase a netter in their 2-0 win over the Huskies. Speaking of Cloe, she is second on the team in goals and third in assists, playing a critical two-way role in this combo that Marist presents on the pitch.
There is plenty of love that goes around offensively as many girls get to touch the ball: Paige Meador, Ava Snyder, and Mattie Andrus are playmakers that feed the ball to the Sela and Cloe, setting up the Spartans for success on the offensive side of the pitch. Defensively, Marist is a brick wall. Five goals allowed the entire season, including three straight shutouts in the playoffs against Mazama, Philomath, and North Marion. Through controlling the midfield and subsequent possession, the Spartans suffocate opponents like a boa constrictor, not allowing many opportunities to score on freshman goalkeeper Emily Meigs.
Hidden Valley fell short last year against Woodburn in the state championship, falling in PKs after a scoreless game through two overtimes. Coincidentally, Marist also fell short in 2019 against the same Woodburn program, who won their first title in school history with their 1-0 win over the Spartans. However, Saturday’s edition of the 4A Championship will end in one of these two coming home a champion: Hidden Valley for the fourth time in school history or Marist finally winning their first title.