By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
When the McNary girls varsity soccer remained silent after taking the field against McKay last week, the Royal Scots filled the vacuum with the sound of the ball hitting the back of the net.
The Lady Celts were trounced 7-0.
“I don’t know if we weren’t communicating or it just wasn’t our day, but we hit the field and we were dead quiet,” said Danielle Lovejoy, a McNary forward.
The lack of communication created jams on the Celtic side of the ball and openings for McKay.
“We didn’t stay on our marks very well,” said Stacey Titchenal. “Three of us would go after one person rather than staying with our marks and that was a big part of it.”
The team was still struggling to adapt with the loss of sweeper Hailey Scoggins, said Laura Donaldson.
“We’re still trying to figure out our new formation now that it’s been switched up,” she said.
The Celts made three shots on goal during the game to no avail, but putting the ball in the back of the net is going to be essential in the second half of the season, said Miguel Camarena, Celtic head coach.
“When you allow a goal in the first four minutes of the game, everything changes,” Camarena said of the West Salem game. “We knew that we needed to play strong in the back, but unfortunately we didn’t.”
Despite the loss, Camarena credited Alex Van Amburgh for a strong 80 minutes of play – she was the only Celt on the pitch for the entirety of the game. The team needs to be stronger defensively and more aggressive in creating scoring opportunities, he added.
“We know we need to talk, we know we need to get physical, we just need to apply it to our games,” Tichenal said.
Success will follow if the team can overcome the mental hurdles they encounter during games, Donaldson said.
“If they do score one goal, we can’t get down on ourselves, we have to keep going,” she said.
The team still has their sights set on a playoff berth, Lovejoy said.
“We don’t want it to come down to the last game of the season and a must-win situation,” she said.