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Coach points to continued improvement by young team, a group that is starting to find out who they are

Despite the 3-1 loss, Canby boys soccer coach Ryan McCormack came away from Monday's match against Barlow with plenty of positives in his pocket.

The Cougars (0-4-0) got their first goal of the season and the team as a whole showed continued improvement on the pitch in the March 15 contest.

"It was pretty competitive," said McCormack. "It was 0-0 for the first 37 minutes, but Barlow scored right before half. We played flat in the first half, but our defense has improved a great deal so we were able to rely on that while we found our legs."

FILE PHOTO - The Canby High boys soccer team is showing improvement and recorded its first goal in Monday's match.

The second half was a different matter altogether. The Cougars started finding their rhythm on offense.

"In the second half we generated seven shots, which is more than we had all season," said McCormack. "So, this young team is starting to find themselves in a lot of ways and figure out who we are as a unit, even with several key players out with injuries."

Barlow would tally two quick goals in the second half, then have to fend off a Canby squad that was growing into the game offensively.

"Our guys kept fighting and we had them on their heels for the majority of the second half," said the coach.

Canby finally broke its scoring drought when freshman midfielder Jairo Lopez found sophomore captain Vladimir Bernal-Lopez on a through ball.

"Vlad dribbled by a few players and then hit a great shot from a tough angle," said McCormack.

McCormack pointed to the efforts of David Villegas in his first game as a goalkeeper and multiple key saves he made, "which helped keep us in the game." Junior Cal White and freshman Landon Hill proved to be an effective combination on the Cougar backline, disrupting multiple Barlow attacks down the right side. Junior Riley Hemsi-Waiters also played well defensively for Canby.

"Overall, a lot of positives to take from (Monday's) game as we keep building for the future," said McCormack.

Oregon City 2, Canby 0

The Cougars are still looking for their first win of the season after suffering a 2-0 loss to Oregon City on Wednesday afternoon.

"We controlled the game for the most part, but just had two unfortunate mistakes," said McCormack. "We generated a lot of chances and the things we've been working on have been getting better and better."

Statistically, McCormack pointed to the team's increase in possession, as well as pass completion percentage as examples of improvement. Additionally, the team is generating more shots than early in the season.

"We had a lot of standout performances (Wednesday night), but none moreso than our two captains, Riley Hemsi-Walters and Vladimir Bernal Lopez," said McCormack. "Both were really the engine that kept us going through the game. Sophomores Cristobal Esquivel (in his first game) and Heladio Vera also had tremendous gameson both sides of the ball.

Canby continues its season with a Monday match at Lakeridge and a Wednesday outing against visiting Tualatin. Both games are at 7 p.m.

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