Challengers open season in style
SALEM — Cascade Christian’s girls soccer team didn’t waste time showing they aim to be a contender on the Class 3A/2A/1A scene, with the Challengers riding a wave of solid play en route to a 6-1 victory at Blanchet Catholic in the season opener for both teams Thursday.
Cascade Christian sophomore Emily Stephens netted four goals and junior Baylee Plankenhorn registered three assists in a matchup of two teams that were eliminated in the state quarterfinals one year ago.
“It was an outstanding performance by the whole team,” said Challengers head coach Mick Power, “and a solid platform to build on for the rest of the season. All the hard work they’ve been doing paid off for them.”
Mia Mayben helped Cascade Christian strike fast, scoring the season’s first goal in the second minute on a 12-yard shot following an assist by Plankenhorn.
Stephens tallied in the 18th minute but Blanchet Catholic, which went 13-2-1 last year, cut its deficit to 2-1 by halftime on a 33rd-minute goal by Sarah Pardo from an Emily Collier assist.
The second half, however, was all Challengers (1-0) as Stephens scored following an assist by Mayben in the 50th minute and tallied again on a header in the 64th minute off Plankenhorn’s pass.
Alisa Whitney scored unassisted in the 66th minute and Stephens capped the scoring in the 72nd minute on a long crossing ball from the wing that sailed over the keeper’s head.
“Although Blanchet Catholic had us under a bit of pressure at the start,” said Power, “they really didn’t post much of a problem because our defense played well and kept them at bay. Our defense was very solid and that gave us an opportunity to work through the midfield and over the front to drop in at the goal.”
Cascade Christian finished second to St. Mary’s in District 5 last year and was 10-7 overall.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 3, PHOENIX 0: Eeklyn Magee had nine kills and Claire Hawkins supplied nine kills and four aces to lead Cascade Christian to a 25-8, 25-15, 25-16 win in season-opening nonleague play at Cascade Christian High.
Gabby Burton added seven aces and Allison Winter had 27 assists for the Challengers (1-0).
ETNA (CALIF.) 3, ST. MARY’S 1: Senior outside hitter Aessa Catt had five kills, two aces and eight digs to go with a perfect 14-for-14 service effort in the nonleague loss at St. Mary’s High. Etna, Calif., won the season opener 25-23, 16-25, 25-16, 25-14.
Sophomore Katie Rietmann added five kills and three blocks, while senior Ashley Rietmann had 11 assists and four aces for the Crusaders (0-1).