McNary girls soccer loses, but nets first goal of season

The result might not have been the desired one at the end of the night, but McNary girls soccer continues to grow in the early season.

Tuesday night, the Celtics (0-3) hosted the Newberg Tigers  in a highly contested and competitive contest that the Tigers (1-2) came away from with a 2-1 victory.

While shots on goal were even at four, Newberg controlled the majority of the game and were on the attack for much of the night, especially in the first half.

The Celtics often had problems clearing the ball and changing ends of the field, allowing the Tigers to continue the pressure.

Newberg’s attack paid off midway through the first half when sophomore Gracie Hess put one up towards the top corner that McNary keeper Hannah Ferguson got a mitt on but couldn’t keep out. 

Energy and momentum shifted a little in the second half, something McNary head coach Lauren Brouse attributed to just being able to talk and break things down with the girls at halftime. McNary was able to press more and was on the attack. 

Senior Katya Martinez, who had gone straight at the Newberg defense all game, drew a penalty in the box when a defender threw her to the ground.

Tessa Fisher, also a senior, cashed in on the penalty kick, going low and to the left past Newberg keeper Aubree New. 

Not only did Fisher’s goal tie the game, but it was the first goal for the Celtics this season and a big confidence builder, according to Brouse.

Four minutes later the Celtics had another scoring opportunity when Sydnee Alfano’s shot was narrowly punched over the goal by New.

Inability to clear was a problem again midway in the second half for McNary. Senior Lua Maffia gave the Tigers the 2-1 lead with a strike off her right foot that curved to the top right corner and into the back of the net.

Brouse is confident after these first three games that the Celtics will be able to continue improving on problem areas. So far in practice they’ve focused on defensive positioning, Brouse said. Positioning wasn’t a big problem against the Tigers. The Celtics initial defense was often able to stop or slow the attack, but an inability to clear and move out of their end kept the pressure on. 

Moving forward, Brouse feels they’ll be able to focus on these aspects, and continue to grow as a team.