6A BOYS SOCCER
|Centennial ... OT|
FOREST GROVE — The Centennial boys forced overtime, but were unable to avoid becoming the latest Mount Hood Conference victim in Forest Grove's playoff run with a 2-1 setback in Saturday's quarterfinals.
The Vikings, who opened the playoffs with wins over David Douglas and Central Catholic, made Centennial their third straight Mount Hood victim when Alejandro Sanchez scored early in the overtime session.
Sanchez, who's nicknamed Pollo (chicken in Spanish) for having unusually skinny legs as a kid, left no doubt on what proved to be the winning goal, absolutely stinging a free kick from 25 yards, around the wall, past a helpless goal keeper, and into the back of the net, setting-off a wild celebration by the raucous home crowd.
"I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity there," Sanchez said. "Yesterday I came out here before practice and worked on it a little bit because I wasn't hitting them how I usually do, so I practiced them a little bit and luckily it just went in the back of the net."
Centennial head coach Todd Saks, while disappointed with the loss, wasn't disappointed with the performance of his team.
"We've played great soccer all year," Saks said. "I'm immensely proud of these guys. I don't want to say we overachieved because we feel like we belonged here, so my pride is in how they go about playing and the quality that they play."
Forest Grove advances to host Summit in tonight's semifinals.
The Vikings drew first blood when sophomore Ben Bradshaw netted somewhat of a surprising goal when he let one fly from 35 yards out on the left side. It appeared at first to simply be a clear, but as the ball flew ever-closer to the net, Centennial goalie Dennis Bessarab watched as it sailed just over his outstretched hands.
"I saw it floating in the air and thought, 'that could go in," Bradshaw said. "Then I saw their goalie looking at it and I thought, 'that really could go in,' then it went in and I was hyped."
After being dominated over the first 20 minutes, it was Centennial that owned the second 20.
The Eagles evened the score when Andrew Martinez put in a rebound, then taking what appeared to be a 2-1 lead before a second Eagles goal was taken off the board as the result of a narrow offsides call in the 32nd minute.
"At times we can be slow starters and we started slow and they got the best of us early, but we woke up and started playing the way we played all season," Saks said. "And as far as that goal, I thought that wasn't offsides, which would've been huge going into halftime 2-1."
Nonetheless, it remained tied, as the two teams figuratively — and to an extent literally — duked it out over the second half's 40 minutes. In a game that featured more than 40 fouls, things got chippy throughout the second half and even resulted in two warnings to the crowd for unruly behavior. Yet, the game continued without incident until Sanchez changed things for good in overtime.
"They're a quality team and I thought it was a good battle," Saks said. "They scored first then they dropped off, we tied it and it was just a battle in that second half that just didn't go our way."
Barlow girls challenge Jesuit early in 4-0 loss
In the girls 6A quarterfinals, Barlow gave top-ranked Jesuit all it could handle in the first half before falling 4-0 on Saturday.
The Bruins pressured the goal in the opening minutes when Kennedie Shuler chased down a deep ball in time to get a toe on it only to see the goalie scoop it up at the line.
A few minutes later, Mikayla Topaum curved a corner kick into the box, and teammate Naomi Whipps connected with a header that went over the keeper only to clip the bottom of the cross bar. The ball bounced on the goal line before being cleared away.
Twenty minutes into the match Topaum hit a free kick that just missed the far post.
Not long after, Jesuit cracked open the scoreless game on the first of three goals from University of Washington commit Callan Harrington.
"I'm proud of what we accomplished this year, and the way the girls came together," Barlow coach Jay Jacobsen said. "We bonded and grew a ton and will build off this experience going forward."
The Bruins were without the services of two starters, Erin Marynik and striker Abi Hoffman, who led the state with 32 goals this season.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.