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The Aardvarks scored in the first five minutes behind Julian Ettinger's good vibes, win 7th title in program history

For No. 1 Oregon Episcopal boys soccer, the 3A/2A/1A state championship game against No. 7 McLoughlin was all about energy.

Fittingly enough, the team's leader in good vibes, junior Julian Ettinger, was fed a perfect ball on a corner kick from teammate Barrett Lindholm in the fifth minute that Ettinger tapped into the back of the net.

From there, it was all about keeping the Pioneers off the board as OES head coach David Rosenburg said his squad is one that usually wears down opponents toward the end.

The Aardvarks still did that, adding a second goal in the 70th minute from freshman Ryder Sendecke when he knocked home a shot after McLoughlin failed to clear the ball in front of the net.

The Pioneers added one late in the 75th minute in a frantic final five that saw the Pioneers dominate possession, but it wasn't enough as OES hung on for a 2-1 win and the program's seventh state title in program history.

"We've been building up the entire season for this and the energy was peaking at the right moment," Ettinger said. "Our energy has been so great, I'm so hyped for me and my boys.

"It's the best feeling in the world."

Ettinger was a force outside of the first five minutes as well, constantly applying pressure on a McLoughlin back line that allowed only one goal in three playoff games coming in and only eight the entire season.

With the Pioneers stout defenders, getting that first goal in the first five minutes helped the Aardvarks settle down and play their game the rest of the way.

PMG PHOTO: RALEIGH EMERSON - The Oregon Episcopal boys soccer team celebrates with the 3A/2A/1A first place trophy after beating McLoughlin 2-1 Nov. 12, at Liberty High School.

"The first goal is the most important goal, it brings the energy and it brings everyone up," Ettinger said. "It really set the tone for the match and it was so important for us."

While scoring early isn't something Rosenburg has seen his squad do much this season, he agrees with Ettinger on the significance of taking it to a tough Pioneers squad early.

"(McLoughlin) played great, they played hard for 80 minutes, and we knew they would come back in the second half and put the pressure on," Rosenberg said. "I just couldn't be more proud of the senior leadership that we had and the way this team has grown together."

McLoughlin certainly didn't back down in the final 10 minutes when it easily could have broken on the 70th-minute goal from OES.

Almikar Garcia tapped a pass into the right side of the net to make it 2-1 with five minutes to go, but the energy from the Aardvarks stayed strong and didn't allow the Pioneers another good look.

That energy starts with Ettinger according to Rosenburg.

"Julian was injured to start the season, so he had a month or so of processing the injury and fostering patience," Rosenberg said. "He is the most passionate and enthusiastic guy ever. I love him, he brings energy and fight every single day."

That's what OES had to do to even make it to the title game after playing in Special District 1, a league that produced the top four seeds of the 3A/2A/1A state tournament.

McLoughlin was the only team in the final eight squads that OES hadn't played during the regular season, so knocking off the Pioneers was a nice little bow on the 2022 season.

As for the celebration? Whatever it is, Ettinger will be there to bring his vibes and be the life of the party off the pitch.

"It was the most exciting moment of my life so far to score that goal," Ettinger said. "We're going to go party and have the night of our lives."

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