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Shorthanded Lady Celts shut out at home

Of the Keizertimes

Sometimes a soccer goal looks as large as the ocean but other times as small as the eye of a needle.

Unfortunately for the McNary (2-4) girls soccer team, it’s been the latter, as the Lady Celts fell to Lake Oswego 2-0 on Thursday, Sept. 13. The shutout was the fourth in a row for McNary, which last scored a goal on Aug. 30 against Forest Grove.

“A lot of it has to do with the teams we’re playing and then a portion of it has to do with just confidence with the ball at our feet,” McNary head coach A.J. Nash said.

The Lady Celts played Lake Oswego without last season’s leading scorer, as Abbie Hawley suffered a concussion in a 3-0 loss at Sheldon on Tuesday.

McNary is also missing starting center defender Samantha Alfano.

“When you lose a key player it forces you to play differently and confidence is the biggest thing that’s lost,” Nash said. “Right now the best thing that I can take from today is that we had our confidence back with Gina (Munguia) in the sweeper position, which is why we had more attacking opportunities than we’ve seen in the past two games. We played another great squad from Portland and put up a good fight without our top defender and our top goal scorer.”

The Lady Celts did find a new formation, switching to a 4-5-1 to attack more through the midfield than through their forwards.

“It provides a little bit more security for the defense,” Nash said. “It has the appearance that we’re being more defensive but we’re just able to attack a little bit more dangerously because any number of five players can attack through the midfield.”

Lake Oswego scored its first goal late in the first half and then added a penalty kick midway through the second after McNary was called for a push in the box.

“The tough part about today is that we’ve been playing in very physical conferences with very physical teams,” Nash said. “It was an extremely large shift from the officiating we’ve got in the first five games. Our team just didn’t adjust to the calling.”

The Lady Celts final non-league game is Tuesday, Sept. 18 at Lincoln (3-3). McNary then opens Mountain Valley Conference play at West Salem on Tuesday, Sept. 25.