Canby's boys soccer team ties Tigard on senior night
The rest of the Three Rivers League might have been surprised by Thursday's Canby-Tigard result.
But the Cougars were not.
"We felt confident," Canby coach Ryan McCormack said after Canby tied the No. 1 team in the Three Rivers League 2-2 in the Cougars final home game. "I felt good waking up this morning. I thought we were in this, and I think they believed it, too, because we've played really well the last four games. The confidence was there."
Canby had won three of its previous four games, including a 2-0 victory at Oregon City on Tuesday.
While Tigard struck first Thursday on a goal by Jacob Theodoroff just two minutes and 30 seconds into the game, Canby senior Ian Quinlan tied the game at 1-1 on a through ball from Riley Hemsi-Waters late in the first half.
"I couldn't have asked for a more perfect through ball," Quinlan said. "Everybody on the team was just pumped and ready to go. We all had our minds in it, no distractions, and we just put our heads down and worked for it."
Eight minutes into the second half, Quinlan, on an assist from Cristobal Esquivel, gave the Cougars a 2-1 lead.
"It felt really good," Quinlan said. "It's just cool that the last time that you ever play on the field that you call home, you get to do something like that."
Canby led until 3:30 remaining when Tigard senior Rasheed Tarhuni scored on a header to tie the game.
"I think we were the better team for the first 60 (minutes), but they're very good and those last 15 or 20 were pretty terrifying, and they got one (goal)," McCormack said. "You can only contain them for so long. I think the best thing about tonight was, the past few games we've been sitting and countering a lot and the other teams have been a lot better, but we really took the fight to them in the first 60, especially in the first half."
Tigard received a red card with 2:14 remaining, but the Cougars could not take advantage, and goal keeper Zachary Heidema saved a free kick in the final seconds to keep the game tied.
"It was like our grand finale," said Heidema, who had 21 saves. "The odds were against us and we came out here and showed them what we've got. I feel like it was a really good way to conclude our season."
Before the game, Canby honored all 14 of its seniors and two exchange students.
"It was surreal," Quinlan said. "I don't think it's hit me yet. I plan on being back here to check on the team."
The class of seniors are McCormack's first as Canby's head coach.
"They're a really good group," he said. "They definitely listen. They appreciate the learning aspect and the positivity that we're trying to bring to the program. And the last three weeks I think it's really started to click with them."
Battling injuries, Canby went 1-4-1 its first time through league play.
"I think we recognize that when we're healthy we can play with anybody," McCormack said. "We just have an unfortunate run of injuries there, but once we hit our stride, we've been in every game we've played in. We didn't even know what kind of team we were yet. We've found ourselves now."
Changing the culture has also taken time as Canby had to learn how to win after earning only one league victory over the previous three seasons.
"We started the season with a negative mentality with the history that we had of losing," Heidema said. "Once we got a couple of wins under our belt, we were finally able to buckle down in practice and move forward. We were just waiting for it to click."
"A lot of it is focus," Quinlan said. "We're all best friends, but we've been kind of screwing around in practice. Now we're starting to take it seriously and we're starting to really realize our potential.
The Cougars improved to 4-5-2 in league play with Thursday's tie against 9-1-1 Tigard.
"It's a confidence booster for sure for the team," Quinlan said. "We've been putting in hard work after school and a lot of hours, so getting a result like this just means a lot for the team. It will be a confidence booster for years to come. We're trying to lay the foundation for years to come and I think we're starting to lay that down."
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