Shutouts signal success

10/23/2008 14:02

Titan soccer shows no mercy with two big conference wins

The LCC women's soccer team got back on the winning track this weekend after they bagged a couple of impressive conference wins.

On Friday, the Titans turned in a dominant performance, shutting out Southwestern Oregon Community College, 5-0.

The next day the Titans took on a different inner-conference foe. However, the story was very much the same as the Titans took complete control from the start, and handed Chemeketa Community College a demoralizing 8-0 loss. Those two big wins at home improved LCC's overall record to 8-3-6.

"It's taken a while but the players are really beginning to develop," Head Soccer Coach Dean Smith said. "They are really beginning to click on the field, and it shows. They look much more comfortable on the field."

Perhaps what has been most important to the team's recent success was a schematic change with its formations. The team has shifted from a 4-4-2 formation to a 3-5-2, which features three defenders, five midfielders and two forwards.

"It's really opened the field up for our team. It's allowed our spacing to really improve," Smith said. "Our improved spacing has really improved our team's passing as well."

That was evident on Oct. 17, as the Titans used their good spacing and crisp passes to move the ball up the field seemingly at will. It not only resulted in good shots, but a very tired SOCC team.

The Titans were clearly a more physical team; their relentless effort was visible even when the game was well in hand.

Saturday's 8-0 drubbing of Chemeketa was another good indicator this team is on the right track.

The Titans showed great accuracy, scoring on eight of their 16 shot attempts on goal. Freshman Forward Katlyn Shaw starred, scoring four goals in a nine-minute span in the first half.

"There's no question we're hitting our stride right now, and really we are playing as good as anyone else besides [No. 1 seed] Walla Walla," Smith said.

Despite their high-scoring games, the real story this season has been what's going on in the Titan's goal. Sophomore Goalkeeper Ali Foster, who on Saturday, turned in her second shutout in as many days, has posted eight shutouts this season.

"In the three years I've been coaching she's been the best goalie we've had," Smith said. He also said Foster's excellent play at the goal has been vital to their success.

"Right now we're just focused on getting better," Foster said. "We just want to be playing our best so we can hopefully give Walla Walla a better effort if we play them again in the playoffs."

Foster also acknowledged that the team's new formation has strengthened its defense and helped the Titans control the middle of the field.

Smith was happy with his team's performance last weekend, but has his sights set on the upcoming games.

"We've got five games left, and we expect to win every one of them," Smith said.

Up next for the Titans is a home game against Clark College of Vancouver, Wash. on Friday, Oct. 24, at 3:30 p.m., followed by three road games.

Right now the Titans appear to be in firm control of the No. 2 seed in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges South region.

By Tyler Pell
The Torch