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Estacada boys soccer take-down Cowboys with goals from Jose Gonzalez, Ben Haefs

Estacada boys' soccer team pushed passed a slow start to get a 5-0 win over a visiting Crook County High School team on Wednesday, Sept. 28. PMG PHOTO: ANGEL ROSAS - Gener Pinto races to win a contested ball during the Ranger's 5-0 victory over the visiting Crook County Cowboys.

The Estacada boys were looking for a strong return to form after an emotional game against Molalla ended with a tie earlier in the week.

The beginning of the first half was a little sluggish, but the Rangers were able to get in a few half chances and some shots on goal early on.

The home team handled themselves significantly better when it came to passing, limiting mistakes and giving up the ball.

After an amazing save where Estacada junior goalkeeper Cole Myers punched away a shot, the Rangers offense responded with strong pressure. At the 11th minute the Estacada offense broke through with a goal off the foot of junior Jose Gonzalez. PMG PHOTO: ANGEL ROSAS - After defeating Crook County, the Rangers are on the road to face another league rival in Gladstone on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

The Cowboy's defense showed their frustration with physical play that often led to an Estacada player on the ground after a Ranger attack. The physical play would lead to multiple yellow flags against Ranger players, often in retaliation.

"I want us to win the ball, but I don't want to pick up those yellows," said Estacada head coach Jack Carroll "At the end of the day I am proud that we were being physical — that is how Estacada teams plays."

The Rangers would find more success at revenge when junior Josh Pallesen would maneuver his way through Crook County defenders for another Estacada goal. Then, in the last minute of the first half, Estacada team captain Ben Haefs would send a screaming shot from 30 yards out into the back of the net to give the home team a lead of 3-0 heading into the second half.

The Rangers came into the second half with a stronger passing and even more physical play from the teams' forwards. The Cowboys were able to only muster a few runs at the goal, most coming off breaks that were often snuffed out by a strong Estacada defense.

The Rangers would add to their lead with another goal from Haefs, who snuck in a shot with a nearly empty goal area. Estacada sophomore Irvin Hernandez would then take a beautiful shot in the last remaining minutes of the match in the now pouring rain to make the score 5-0.

"It is hard to win in league," Carroll said. "To come back and get the win in a reasonably comfortable fashion was good because it could have easily been a letdown after a such an emotional tie against Molalla."

Despite the dominate team performance and inspired playing himself, Haefs still found places where his team could improve. "I feel like we didn't move the ball as well as we were capable of," Haefs said after the match. "It is a big win, and it keeps us in the race for league. I know that tie against Molalla was tough, I know we could have gotten more out of it, but getting this win is big for us."

With the win, Estacada has an overall record of 6-1-1 and a league record of 3-0-1. The Rangers hope to continue their winning ways as they travel to face Gladstone at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

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