Indians unable to put early lapses aside in game that likely decided Tri-Valley title

After their 2-2 tie at Madras on Sept. 19, the Molalla boys' soccer team had another shot at the White Buffaloes at home on Oct. 5 in a game that would likely decide the Tri-Valley title.

Molalla was unable to put aside a few early lapses and keep up with the pace the Madras players presented, however, and fell 3-0 in last Thursday's contest.

"Looking back on the game, we definitely overreacted to an early deficit," Molalla senior forward Gavin Barrett said. "After conceding a goal, we rushed the ball and played a little more directly than we are used to, leading to an uncomfortable pace of play and lack of honesty to our style of play."

Madras struck first in the 24th minute when senior M/F Jonathan Reynoso shot off a free kick from near midfield that was tipped by Molalla senior GK Patrick Ehleringer, eventually falling into the goal to put the White Buffaloes up 1-0.

"We came in here this was going to be maybe the hardest game all year, just like last year," Reynoso said after the game. "We knew they were the team to beat, and we came in and gave us all because we knew this was the game that was probably going to determine the league champs."

Molalla got off two solid shots in the first half from Barrett and junior Miguel Maldonado that were saved by Madras senior GK Jared Holliday, and the Indians went into the second half down a goal.

Five minutes into the second half, Madras junior F/M Andres Acuna found the goal as he connected on a corner kick from junior D/M Cesar Aguirre to take a 2-0 lead, putting Molalla into a difficult situation.

"Our last game, we knew that we could have and should have won it, so we had to prove it today (Thursday)," Reynoso said. "We had to focus; the whole bus ride here, we didn't say a word."

Madras sealed the deal in the 73rd minute with their third goal, this time from senior F/M Kevin Goicochea; the shot headed towards the upper right corner of the goal as Ehleringer dove for the block, tipping the ball a bit, but not enough to prevent it from falling in for a score.

"The game was definitely one of opposing athleticism due to the speed and physicality of the game, which we aren't usually comfortable with, but did not respond well to in this particular game," Barrett said. "In the minutes following the game, our team sat and talked about what we can do in the coming games to ensure quality play in our near future. The main topic discussed was the fact that the past is the past and there's nothing we can do to change it, but we can learn from it and use it as motivation to take on the remainder of the league."

With the win, Madras takes the lead in Tri-Valley play at 4-0-2, while Molalla moves down to second place with a record of 4-1-1 along with Gladstone.

"Our team went in with the knowledge that this game would likely decided league, but despite the outcome, we are still optimistic, we know that all we can do now is play as hard as possible in the coming games, pressuring Madras to keep winning to ensure a league title," Barrett said.

Madras still has some work left to do if they want to title, including a rematch against Gladstone at home on Oct. 17, whom they previously tied on Sept. 25.

Molalla, on the other hand, needs to keep winning out as well and see a Madras loss if they want a chance at the title. The Indians have four games remaining, all against teams they've already beaten this season. Up next, they'll travel to Gladstone on Oct. 10 and then return home to take on Crook County on Oct. 17 at 4 p.m.

Conner Williams
Sports Reporter/News Contributor
503-829-2301 ext. 341
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