Buffs get revenge, make semifinals game
The Madras White Buffalo soccer program won their 4A state playoff quarterfinal game 2-1 over Newport on Nov. 3. They played at Woodburn High School Tuesday Nov. 6, after the Pioneer's deadline.
The White Buffalos used their aggressive, high-pressure, high-tempo, physical game play to attack Newport early. Around the 30-minute mark in the first half, Newport had a good shot on goal, but Madras goalie Byron Patt was there for the block. That set up a Newport corner kick in front of the Madras goal, but Melchor Olivera kicked the ball out of play before any harm could be done.
A few minutes later, Alex Diaz made a great pass to Andres Acuna, who took an open shot. The shot was just a little off target. Again, Acuna received a lead pass for an open shot. He took a low shot that barely missed the right side of the goal.
About halfway through the first half, Leo Gutierrez used his speed to dribble down the middle of the field. His shot looked like it was going in, but just missed to the left side of the goal.
Throughout the next 10 minutes, the Pioneers were only able to get shots on goal from free kicks. Patt easily caught the ball and kept the game scoreless.
With three minutes in the first half left, Tyriek Rodriguez was sprinting side-by-side with a Newport defender before getting crushed to the ground. The referee called a penalty and since Rodriguez was in Newport's penalty area it gave the Buffs a free penalty kick.
Senior captain Andres Acuna stepped in to take the kick for the Buffalos. He lined up in front of the ball, stared at the goalie and took a shot. Acuna's shot was fired fast and low. The goalie jumped to the right and the ball went left, right into the back of the net.
"I just wanted to make it and have us go up 1-0," Acuna said about his penalty kick. "Calm us down and know we are in this game and we're the better team."
The White Buffalos took a 1-0 lead and a few minutes later, the horn sounded for halftime.
Madras came out in the second half with the same game plan, pressure and physicality.
In the first five minutes in the second half, Gutierrez took a shot at a tough angle and the shot was blocked.
At the 30-minute mark, Madras had a free kick. The kick was floated in front of the Pioneer's goal. Olivera headed the ball straight in the air and Esteban Gomez attempted a bicycle kick that went over the goal.
A few plays later, Olivera was able to use his quick feet to dribble right past the Newport defenders and found himself one-on-one with the Pioneer goalie. As Olivera was taking his shot the Newport goalie dove headfirst and blocked the shot.
With 22 minutes left in the game, Omar Diaz made a perfect floating pass to a wide open Acuna. Acuna headed the ball right toward the goal, but the Pioneer goalie leaped in the air and dove for a one-handed block. Acuna and the White Buffalos were in disbelief.
Exactly halfway into the second half, Gutierrez lined up for a corner kick. The kick went right to Omar Diaz in front of the goal. He took a shot, kicking the ball out of the air and right into the back of the net. The Buffs took a 2-0 lead with 20 minutes left in the game.
"I don't know; it was really weird," Omar Diaz said about his goal. "No one was really on me. I was just standing there. Leo (Gutierrez) looked at me in the eye and saw me, and I thought to myself, I got this. It came right to me and I kicked it with my right foot and it goes in."
"Everyone went crazy," he said. "Second goal of the season, quarterfinal game. Last year we were taken out in the quarterfinals, so it feels good to go back."
A few plays later, Newport took two free kicks around 30 feet from the goal. Both attempts were defended by Madras.
Omar Diaz scored another goal, but a penalty on Madras took the goal away and Newport took over the ball.
The last 10 minutes of the game, Newport was desperate for any chance they could get. They were trying to match the physicality of the Buffs and several penalties and yellow cards were called in the high pace final minutes.
With 11 seconds left in the game, the Pioneers took a shot that went right over the outstretched arms of Patt and into the back of the Madras goal. The Newport Pioneers scored late in the game, but Madras cleared the ball and won their quarterfinal match 2-1.
"We played more like a team today," Acuna said. "We knew it was going to be a tough game and it was important for us to keep playing hard and moving forward. Just knowing we lost to them in the 2016 finals game made us want revenge and I am glad we came out with the win."
"We need to do what we have been doing — work hard and get it done," said Acuna.
"We were a little nervous, but we were trying to get back from that game we lost to them two years ago," Omar Diaz said. "(We were) trying to go back to state and compete for a championship, bring it back home. We were confident today though."
"It was a game we knew we could win if we did what we needed to do," head coach Clark Jones said. "We were pressuring and attacking and when we do that, we are pretty hard to beat. They were playing catch-up all day."
"We play physical and we have a lot of really athletic skilled players," he said. "What happens is if you are playing hard and physical, you can make other teams fold. We figured out some strategies to use on them and it paid off in the end."
"I think we can play with Woodburn and I think the kids know they can play with Woodburn," Jones said. "It is going to be an uphill battle and a good game. It is a great experience for all the kids.
McLoughlin round one win
The stands were packed and the sun shining during the Madras boys soccer team's 3-1 victory over McLoughlin on Oct. 30.
The Buffs hosted the Pioneers in their first-round state playoff game and came out aggressive and fast. They took control from the second the clock started and went on a nonstop attacking offense. Madras used their speed and athletic ability to beat McLoughlin to the ball.
Around the 35-minute mark, a slide tackle penalty was called on the Buffs, which set up a deep free kick for the Pioneers. The kick was high and right in front of the Madras goal. A Pioneer player headed the ball in the air and another Pioneer striker leaped into the air and headed the ball again, this time toward the empty net.
The ball went in to the back of the net and the Pioneers took an early 1-0 lead.
At the 29-minute mark in the first half, the Pioneers took a shot on goal, but Patt leaped in the air for a save. A few minutes later, The Buffs passed the ball in front of the McLoughlin goal to Alex Diaz. He took a shot, but the goalie came out of the box to block the shot, colliding with Diaz to save a goal.
The Pioneers took another close shot on goal, but Patt stretched out with one hand to block the ball. Madras was able to get a good look off a header a few plays later, but McLoughlin was able to head the ball out of bounds.
"We have the best goalie in the league by far and maybe even the state," Jones said. "We made sure we didn't panic; play to your strengths, play team ball and we were able to do that after a few adjustments."
At the 17-minute mark, Yahir Aguirre controlled the ball to the left corner of the field and passed the ball to Madras teammates in front of the goal. The ball was deflected off Andres Acuna and bounced right in front of Leo Gutierrez, who fired a shot to the top right of the net for a goal.
The goal to tie the game at 1-1 gave a burst of energy to the Buffs. They attacked hard and had several close shots.
The Buffs were able to find Gutierrez on some great lead passes, but his shots were blocked. The Pioneers had another good opportunity on a free kick, but Patt was there again to make the save.
Madras had a couple more open shots that were blocked by McLoughlin before the first half ended with the game tied at 1-1.
"We were feeling pretty good, really pumped up, but the first half we didn't come out as strong as we could have," senior Alex Diaz said. "The second half, we came back and got the win. We knew they were going to come in aggressive, because that is how the playoffs are, so we needed to come in the same way."
"We felt terrible when they scored, like we weren't doing something right," he said. So we knew we needed to score. We wanted this really bad. We just tried to jam those pieces of the puzzle together and it came out perfect."
In the start of the second half, the Pioneers had another good look on a free kick, but Patt was there again to make a save. Madras' Omar Diaz had a very good look right in front of the goal, by the McLoughlin goalie was there to stop that shot.
With around 27 minutes left in the second half, a McLoughlin striker was running for the ball heading toward the Madras goal, but Patt ran out and slid to snatch the ball before McLoughlin could get there.
A few minutes later, Gutierrez had a pair of good looks, but one of them was off target and the other was called offsides.
Some yellow cards were handed out around the 16-minute mark, both on Madras and McLoughlin. The game was filled with penalties and yellow cards.
With 13 minutes left in the game, Gutierrez received a lead pass and used his speed to dribble past a pair of defenders. He stopped to the right side of the goal, around 4 feet away from the goalie, and looked to the middle of the field for a pass.
No one was open for the Buffs, so Gutierrez blasted a shot that went right past the Pioneer goalie. The Buffs took the lead for the first time in the game at 2-1.
Madras had some more open shots with less than 10 minutes to play, but a shot by Alex Diaz was off target and a shot by Alex Sanchez hit the bar on the left side and bounced out of bounds.
"Our goals were to try and control the midfield, wings and be aggressive," he said. "Speed at this level is one thing that is going to put you over the top and having a Leo (Gutierrez), Mellie (Melchor Olivera) or Alex Diaz be able to outrun the defense to something, that makes the defense a little tentative."
There were about four minutes left in the game when McLoughlin had two free kicks in a row. Both shots were very accurate, but a combination of saves by Patt and a White Buffalo defender clearing out the ball kept the Pioneers from scoring.
At 2:45 in the second half, Gutierrez received another great pass in the middle of the field. He used his quick feet and speed to dribble the ball toward the goal and with a defender on his hip, he took a shot.
The McLoughlin goalie came out of the box and dove at the ball. The shot was partially blocked, but had enough steam on it to keep rolling toward the net. The ball rolled slowly and dramatically and eventually rolled to the back of the net for a score.
"When those passes were made to me, I was thinking what coach Jones always tells me," Gutierrez said. "Use your speed, use your speed; don't shoot it, take it in and finish. I had to be a little selfish and shoot."
With that final goal, Madras was able to secure a 3-1 win in the first round of the playoffs.
"This feels really great," senior Melchor Olivera said. "It feels great to win and we played a really good game to move on to the next round. I think we will play good against whoever we face and go from there."
"We all felt really confident and knew what the end result was going to be," Leo Gutierrez said. "We had to fight for this; it wasn't easy and we all felt the need to comeback."
"It's playoffs," head coach Clark Jones said. "When it's playoffs, people come out ready to play. We made a mistake early, but were able to draw even and then draw ahead. I think we came out a little more focused in the second half than we did in the first half. Eventually, our depth finally ended up overpowering them."