M-P defense shows growth in opener

Senior midfielder Kassandra Riozzi tries to cut off four Snohomish defenders. -
Senior midfielder Kassandra Riozzi tries to cut off four Snohomish defenders.
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MARYSVILLE A lot of good things came out of the M-P soccer teams performance against Snohomish.
I thought they played a really good game, said head coach Geoff Kittle after the Sept. 4 match. If they play like that in every game, were going to have a good season.
Unfortunately for Tomahawk fans, the girls lost to their rivals, 1-0. But as Kittle watched the game go on, he said he took a lot of encouragement from the Panthers strategy a strategy of containment.
I think they were trying to hold us out. They knew we would come out with a lot of energy and they wanted to weather the storm, he said.
Snohomish might have known what was coming from this M-P team. Several girls from each team played select soccer together this summer, and even more have played together at some point in their lives. The cross-rival friendships were evident as players in white and black jerseys huddled together on the field after the game for more than the usual exchange of congratulations.
That connection to Snohomish also helped M-P prepare to defend certain Panthers as well as they could, but even so, after about 12 minutes Snohomish forward Lacee Ross scored the games lone goal.
About 10 minutes into the second half, it appeared that M-P had evened the score. After second-half attempts by senior forward Melissa Lauer and junior midfielder Juliana Albano, it appeared Albano had scored on a kick to the left side of the goal, where Snohomish keeper Ashley Tombelaine had fallen on the ball.
But the referees called it no good.
Kittle recognized his players for staying competitive throughout the game. He credited his midfielders, particularly Kassandra Riozzi, for feeding the ball upfield and pressuring the Snohomish defense.
But Kittle saved most of his praise for his defenders, who are less experienced and about a year younger than his forwards, on average.
Our defense grew tremendously tonight, he said. They developed a lot.

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