BARDONIA — For most of the game, it seemed Albertus Magnus was doing everything but scoring in its season opener against Valhalla on Tuesday.
Senior forward Carly Clinton was one of the many Albertus Magnus players who struggled to finish her chances. But in the 72nd minute, after sailing a shot over the net a minute earlier, she took a chip shot from the right side on a sharp angle. It just evaded the reach of Valhalla goalkeeper Frankie Guzzo and gave the Falcons a 1-0 win to open the season.
“Even some of our defenders were having shots; the forwards were getting frustrated,” Clinton said. “Once that ball got to my foot, I knew it had to go in.”
In a match-up between two of the top Class B teams in Section 1, Albertus Magnus’ familiarity with the grass pitch proved to be advantageous. With Valhalla struggling to control the ball in the midfield, the Falcons swarmed their offensive third of the field with shots, forcing Guzzo to make 22 saves.
“We’re used to playing on turf; our girls usually focus on passing to feet and we weren’t able to adapt to the grass today, it kind of pinballs over the top,” Valhalla head coach Andrea Nash, who coached her first game for the team, said. “It was a learning experience for them, we have a young team and we’re going to come a long way.”
The Valhalla defense held up, limiting quality chances and clearing most of Albertus Magnus’ crosses out of the box. In the 35th minute, Danielle LaRochelle hit the post on a long shot, and in the 48th minute, Clinton’s attempt at the goal was just cleared off the line by Valhalla.
“I had a bunch of chances myself that I knew I should have finished,” Clinton said. “I feel pretty confident. We have so many players who are holding their own, and I think going forward in the season, we aren’t going to do anything else other than progress.”
While it is early in the season, Albertus Magnus head coach Tim Gavan was pleased with what he saw.
“It’s a good to play a Class B school we could potentially see in the playoffs down the road,” he said. “Sometimes, you can dominate the ball and not always win the game. I told them to be patient, keep their confidence and that we were going to get one.”