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Math no longer works for the Buffs to catch up to North Marion, Estacada and Molalla

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - Madras senior captain Ethan Tapia drives down the sideline during the Buffs' home match against Molalla.Despite three matches remaining in the regular season, the Madras boys soccer team saw its season effectively end last week in Estacada. The White Buffalos were wrangled by the Rangers in a 3-1 defeat, dropping the Buffs' overall record to 3-6-2 and putting their Tri-Valley mark at 1-4-2.

With three other strong teams in the TVC ahead of them, the math no longer works out for Madras to sneak into the playoffs. As of this writing, the current league leader is North Marion. The Huskies started their Tri-Valley season with seven consecutive shutout victories. Standing at 7-0 and having not yet allowed a goal to any of its conference confederates, North Marion's spot in the 4A state playoffs seems like a foregone conclusion. That being said, Madras hosted the Huskies on Tuesday evening and had a chance to play spoiler, though results were not available at press time. If history is any indication, though, it should be a closely contested affair. The Buffs held North Marion to just one goal in their first tilt — the 1-0 loss was the closest that any TVC team has gotten to taking points from the Huskies.

Further down the leaderboard, Estacada slid into second place in the Tri-Valley by virtue of their win over Madras. The Rangers' 5-1-1 record in league play is only slightly better than Molalla's 5-2 mark, but that extra point — which they earned in a 1-1 draw against Madras earlier this year — could make all the difference. Estacada and Molalla also played on Tuesday night, a pivotal match in the race for the TVC's second playoff spot.

It may be tough sledding for the Tri-Valley to get a third team into the state playoffs. Madras had been eyeing that spot as a possible backdoor to a state title, but the window was slammed shut early. With only five points (one win and two draws), the Buffs are ten points back from third-place Molalla with just three games left. Even if Madras were to win out, there simply are not enough matches left to make up the difference in the league table.

Following their tussle with North Marion, the White Buffalos close out their season with a trip to Corbett on Thursday, Oct. 20, followed by the final home match for the team's nine seniors on Monday, Oct. 24, against Gladstone. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Corbett, while the Gladstone match will kick at 6:15 p.m.


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