By Jerod Young • Jerod Young • 

Milestone year for the Dayton Pirates girls soccer program

Dayton girls soccer’s 2012 season ended in cold, rain, darkness and heartbreak.

The future; however, looks incredibly bright for the Pirates.

Dayton (11-5-2) put together a memorable season that took it to the first round of the state playoffs where it faced a talented Cascade Christian team Nov. 6 at the Austin Sports Complex in Newberg.

Both defenses were flawless and sent the match to penalty kicks. It was Cascade Christian goalkeeper Jessica Weber that was able to sneak the winning goal past the fingertips of Pirates goalkeeper Morgyn Erb for the 1-0 win.

Making the playoffs was a big accomplishment for the program, which just finished its third season. The team was created in 2010 and three seasons later, it made its mark in high school soccer as a potential future state champion.

“Making the state playoffs was a huge accomplishment,” Dayton coach Michael Flores said. “Being in the playoffs spoke volumes for how hard these girls worked and this season was definitely a success.”

Dayton made it to the playoffs because of consistency on both offense and defense. The Pirates finished second in Special District 3 behind Western Mennonite in goals scored (48) and goals allowed (14).

“Props have to go out to the whole team,” Flores said. “We play a very defensive style of soccer, controlling the ball and the best defense is controlling the ball.”

“The pieces are there for a state championship,” Flores said. “In terms of player personnel and skill, I think the pieces are there. The next step is the mental aspect of it and stepping on the field knowing they can compete with anyone whether it be a private or public program.”

The most notable improvement for Dayton over the past three years has been the ability to stop shots and scoring. Dayton’s goalkeeper, Erb, brings good hands in a game dominated by feet

Erb, a junior, quickly asserted herself as a leader for the Pirates. She allowed 14 goals in 18 games this season and had 10 shutouts. She allowed Santiam Christian one goal in Dayton’s 2-1 win over the Eagles in the first round of league playoffs.

“She really came through, stepped up her game and made key saves,” Flores said. “She has really improved her confidence and it showed in her technical and tactical skills this year.”

Flores said the biggest key to becoming a great goalkeeper is how quickly they can develop confidence mentally in stopping the ball but also confidence in the defensive ability of fellow teammates to keep possession of the ball.

Dayton spent a lot of time this season working on improving the offensive side of the ball and specifically keeping possession on the opponents side of the field.

The hard work showed positive results this season. Dayton improved its offense by 14 goals this year.

“With Morgyn confident in making stops,” Flores said, “it carries over to the offense and gives them the confidence to be more aggressive and with that coming together, the future looks great.”

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