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Three early goals help Madras cruise to victory over Vikings; strong second half powers Lady Buffs over Mazama

STEELE HAUGEN - Jiana Smith-Francis heads in a goal during the Lady Buffs' 3-1 victory  Sept. 19.The Madras Lady Buffs soccer team had a strong second half to help beat Mazama in a 3-1 away game victory Sept. 19.

Madras was down early, as Mazama was able to take a 1-0 lead. Before halftime ended, the Lady Buffs were able to score on a corner kick from Briseida Carlon, to Jiana Smith-Francis.

"Jiana had an absolutely beautiful header on a corner kick," head coach Shawn Darrow said. "Briseida crossed it in and Jiana scored on a flick header right into the top corner. It was one of the best goals I have seen. It was sweet."

Madras and Mazama went into halftime tied 1-1.

"In the second half, we opened up the field a lot more and had a lot more chances," said Darrow. "We played a lot smarter defense, marking up in the middle. That was a problem to start the game and we talked about it at halftime. We put it to them in the second half, linking up with players, finding open space, open players and that was great to see."

In the second, Carlon scored on an assist from Hannah Holiday. Carlon shot the ball on the right side of the box to the far left side of the net, giving the Lady Buffs a 2-1 lead.

Another goal was scored by the Buffs, that time by freshman Emily King, who was assisted by Carlon.

"Briseida dribbled the ball pretty far and hit her (Emily) on a through ball," said Darrow. "Emily made a great touch to put it back in the middle and then shot it by the keeper. It was awesome."

"It is the best I have seen with this group," Darrow said. "We came out a little slow, but that was to be expected because we didn't get a long warm-up and were on the bus for an extra hour and a half. It was rough once things got started, but once we scored that game tying goal, we played really well."

The Lady Buffs (2-2) are set to start league, and have a home game against North Marion (3-1) at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25. Madras also travels to Gladstone High School, taking on the Gladiators at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1.

"I feel confident that we can play with anyone at any day," Darrow said. "It is a matter of how well the girls execute and their focus, but if we come in focus, we can compete in every game and I feel good about that. I think these girls have already exceeded expectations in the sense that they are a young, experienced team."

"We came out 2-2 and we were right in there," he said. "Those games could have gone either way and it makes us believe that we can do well in the league and hopefully, get in the postseason for the third year in a row."

STEELE HAUGEN - Jesus Alonzo tries to get to the ball before the Mazama goalie can. 
Madras beat Mazama 3-1 Sept. 19.

Boys cruise to victory

The Madras High School boys soccer team had its last preseason game Sept. 19, when the White Buffalos' big first-half lead led Madras to a 3-1 victory over Mazama.

Right from the blowing of the whistle, Madras took control of the game, not allowing the Viking to breathe. Madras was taking several shots on goal early in the game, but couldn't find the back of the net.

Mazama was able to get a good counter on the Buffs, shooting an open shot in the middle of the field, but Madras goalie Ethan Nava blocked the shot.

Around the 25-minute mark, freshman Park Tolton received a pass a few feet past the midfield. Tolton showed off his kicking power with a beautiful strike to the top right side of the goal. Mazama had no chance to block the shot and Madras took a 1-0 lead.

With around 17 minutes left in the first half, Madras found senior captain Tyriek Rodriguez open about 35 yards in front of the goal. Rodriguez's goal was almost identical to Tolton's, but Rogriguez was able to curve the ball into the top left side of the goal.

Mazama was able to counter the Buffs during a few plays in the first half, but the Madras defense was keeping them at bay, not allowing clean looks on goal.

The White Buffalos were awarded a penalty kick with very little time left in the first half. Manny Flores took the penalty kick just past midfield. Flores made a quick short pass to teammate Yehir Aguirre, who kicked the ball high, right in front of the Mazama goal.

STEELE HAUGEN - Geraldo Penaloza jumps over a Mazama defender, who is trying to make a slide tackle.
The ball soared through the air, heading straight for an open Luiz Benitez. Benitez kicked the ball out of the air straight past the Mazama goalie. Madras took a 3-0 lead at the half.

In the second half, Madras kept up its pressure and had several good looks on goal. The Buffs were able to get several corner kicks, that set up opportunities, but Madras' shots were just a bit off target.

With around 10 minutes left in the second half, Mazama found an opening in the White Buffalos' defense. Kris Gonzalez dribbled past the Madras defense and found himself one-on-one with the Madras goalie. Gonzalez kicked the ball to the top left corner of the goal for a score.

The rest of the game, Madras was able to spread out across the field, controlling the ball with several good, careful passes. The team was still aggressive on offense and was able to get a few more shots off, but none found the back of the net.

The White Buffalos controlled the rest of the game and finished the preseason 3-0-1, after defeating Mazama 3-1.

"The game went really good," said senior captain Omar Diaz. "We passed the ball a lot better. We came together as a team and weren't playing for ourselves."

Madras has now entered league play and the Buffalos take on North Marion for an away game at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25. The Buffs have a home game against Gladstone at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1.

"For league, if all of us keep playing together, we can do really good," Diaz said. "If we play by ourselves we will start losing. We will see how things go and just take everything one game at a time."

"I don't know who will be at the top of the Tri-Valley," he said. "Everyone is rebuilding, including us. We still have some things we need to cover, but I think every league opponent will be competitive."

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