Tigers rally to tip rival Timberwolves
TIGARD — There was plenty of intensity in the match between the rivals.
Both squad really wanted the victory — and they were determined to get it.
It became apparent that it very well could come down to who made more key, clutch plays.
And that turned out to be the Tigard High School boys soccer squad.
The Tigers, stepping up and coming through in the clutch throughout the second half, rallied back from a 2-1 halftime deficit to score a 3-2 win over rival Tualatin in a Three Rivers League opener played Tuesday at Tigard High School.
"We brought intensity from the beginning. We worked as a team, and we came out with no regrets," said Tigard junior Rasheed Tarhuni, who scored a pair of goals, including the match-winner. "We said we weren't going to leave here without a smile, and we worked our (rear ends) off."
"We've been wanting to beat Tualatin, they're our rivals," said Tigard junior Oscar Jacinto, who scored the tying goal in the second half. "This was a very important game for us to win. We came with the mentality to win, and only win. We were working all together, no individuals, it was a team thing. Everyone gave everything they've got."
With the victory, the Tigard improved to 8-0-1 on the season. But, maybe more importantly to the Tigers is the 1-0 start to league play.
"This was very important," Tarhuni said. "We want to win every game in league. Three Rivers is a very competitive league, and, if you want to win it, you have to work hard to get it."
Tualatin moved to 8-1 on the season with the setback.
"The first half went a lot better than the second," said Tualatin senior Christian Pumpelly, who scored both of the Timberwolves' goals. "It was pretty intense. We kept battling, but I thought, toward the end, that we kinda started to give up. Everything was rushed. In the future, we need to stay more composed."
"First half, we started off strong. Nerves got to us in the second half," Tualatin senior Mario Quiterio said. "It was pretty intense. It was a good game, a rival match. There was some tension and some pushing."
Tualatin got off to a very fast start to the match, taking a 1-0 lead when Pumpelly scored on a rebound goal, following a feed by senior Saul Aparicio, coming just one minute into the contest.
Tigard tied the score, at 1-1, when Tarhuni scored off a free-kick assist by junior Trevor Smith.
But the Timberwolves regained the lead, at 2-1, when Pumpelly scored following a flick pass by Thomas Augee, coming with just four minutes remaining in the first half.
The Wolves took their one-goal lead to the intermission, but the Tigers weren't deterred by the deficit.
"Concentrate, and only focus on victory," Jacinto said of the Tigers' thoughts going into the second half. "We wanted to tie them, and then take the lead."
Tigard did tie the score, at 2-2, when Jacinto scored on a shot from six yards away, coming off a long free-kick pass by Smith, coming with 32 minutes and 51 seconds left to play in the match.
"I was really happy about it," Jacinto said. "It was for all the team."
Tualatin had a chance to regain the lead after Aparicio was knocked down in the penalty box, and a foul was called, giving the Wolves a penalty kick with 22:49 remaining in the match.
But Tigard junior goalkeeper Jackson Cleaver, diving to his right, was able to block Tualatin's ensuing penalty kick, keeping the match tied at 2-2.
"I always believe in Jackson," Tarhuni said. "He's always made incredible saves on penalties, and I had no doubt he was going to save that."
Cleaver also made a leaping save on a shot by Tualatin senior Richy Olguin, coming with 17:31 remaining in the match.
The Tigers then took their first lead of the match, at 3-2, when Tarhuni scored on a running, lofted shot from eight yards away, with the ball floating just over the reach of the Timberwolf goalkeeper, coming with 9:32 remaining in the contest.
"I just got the ball. I got a throw-in from Trevor, I turned my body and took the shot and was lucky it went in," Tarhuni said. "It was the perfect spot, the keeper couldn't get it, and I was glad it went in. That felt really good. It's a rival match, and this is what you dream about."
Cleaver made another save on a shot by Aparicio with 3:50 left to play, and, soon after, the Tigers were celebrating a come-from-behind win over their rival.
"It was just a rival match. We came in with all we've got. We knew both teams were going to come out with everything they've got," Tarhuni said. "It was very aggressive, but you just have to play your game. You have to focus on the game. We came out here to get a win and start the league off well."
Tualatin, while disappointed with the loss, is also looking to benefit from it.
"We learned a lot. We need to stay composed, even when we're winning, and we need to stay poised," Quiterio said. "We have to get past this, and look forward to our next league game."
"It definitely was the best match we've had this season, and we're looking forward to more like that," Pumpelly said. "I think any other day, we could have had this back."
Tualatin will be back in action on Thursday, when it will host Lake Oswego in a league match starting at 7 p.m. The Tigers will next play on Tuesday, when they travel to Lake Oswego for a 7:30 p.m. league contest.