La Salle boys rout Corvallis 5-0 to win Class 5A state title
The Class 5A state soccer championship game was less a competition and more a coronation for the La Salle boys team.
The Falcons — the top-ranked Class 5A team in state — proved as much on Saturday, Nov. 13, when they routed No. 3 Corvallis 5-0 in the title game at Hillsboro Stadium.
"We wanted to win so badly, just one more time," said La Salle senior forward Mizael Harris, who scored three goals — all on penalty kicks — and assisted on another in the championship. "I think coming out and just being able to play together one last time as a team, this final felt really good."
"We've done this before, but to do it again, you can't describe it," said senior defender and team captain Aidan O'Brien, referencing La Salle's 2019 state championship win over Wilsonville. "Just the last game being a win after playing with these guys for so long, it's amazing."
"It feels great," added freshman forward Vance Sheffield, who was fouled twice to set up two of Harris' PKs. "It's a long season … so to come out with a win is huge for our team and our program and I'm so happy."
With their win — the team's ninth straight — the Falcons extended their unbeaten streak to 11 games after winning the Northwest Oregon Conference and ended their year at 16-1-1 overall. Head coach Monty Hawkins won his second state title with the Falcons, his first coming back in 1994.
Corvallis, meanwhile, saw its four-game winning streak (and 12-game unbeaten streak) snapped and finished its year at 12-4-2 after tying for the Mid-Willamette Conference title.
Falcons' title games
La Salle won its second straight state championship on Saturday and the seventh crown in program history.
• Wins: The Falcons won state championships in 1994, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009, 2019 and 2021.
• Losses: La Salle finished second in the state in 1991, 1993, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2012 and 2018.
The two teams traded shots and possession early, but La Salle got on the scoreboard first when Sheffield was fouled in the Corvallis penalty box and Harris stepped up to convert the ensuing penalty kick to the right corner of the Spartans' goal for a 1-0 lead with 27 minutes, 28 seconds remaining in the first half.
While Harris saw a one-on-one opportunity stopped by Corvallis sophomore goalkeeper Oscar Hommel with 19 minutes left in the opening half, he got another penalty kick after being fouled with 10:59 to go in the half. For the second time in a row, Harris beat Hommel to the right corner on his PK and the Falcons took that 2-0 edge into halftime.
"That's how we try and play every game — come out of the gates early, and that's what we were doing," O'Brien said. "We had guys getting the ball inside the box and they tried to stop us, but they fouled, so we got PKs."
"We came out with fire for sure," Harris said. "We had multiple opportunities and PKs come as part of the game, as long as you put it in the net."
The Falcons carried that trend into the second half, and when Sheffield got fouled in the Corvallis penalty box again just 1:10 into the period, Harris scored on the ensuing penalty kick for a commanding 3-0 lead.
The Spartans — who beat second-ranked Willamette in their semifinal — tried to rally with shots from both sophomore Ryan John and junior Kellen Filker, but La Salle senior keeper Parker English stopped the first and Filker missed high with the second to leave the score at 3-0.
Then, with 29:23 left in the game, Sheffield's volleyed shot rebounded to sophomore Kevin Serrano-Maldonado in the center of the Spartans' penalty box and he scored in the middle of the Corvallis net to push the La Salle lead to 4-0.
Then, just 5:08 later, Serrano-Maldonado connected again, scoring at the near post off a Harris corner kick from the left side with 24:15 remaining in the contest for the final 5-0 margin.
"It feels outstanding," Serrano-Maldonado said. "I felt like we set the tone at the beginning of the second half like we did the whole game. That's why the score was 5-0."
The Falcons substituted freely in the remaining minutes, but still managed to keep the Spartans scoreless, including a leaping save at the left corner of the goal by senior keeper Elliot Reynolds with nine minutes remaining.
After that, it was just a countdown to the Falcons' imminent coronation.
"It's great. We've got talent all over the place," O'Brien said. "We were thinking of this day throughout the season and we were finally able to get here."
"Leaving as a senior with the state championship is probably one of the best feelings in the world and I'll keep that memory forever," Harris said.
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