TUALATIN — It was a battle from one end of the field to the other.
Every possession of a loose ball had to be earned.
Nothing was given. Everything had to be fought for.
And, in the end, the Tualatin High School boys soccer team got to celebrate a hard-fought victory over its rival.
The Timberwolves, rallying from a 1-0 deficit, rallied to get a 2-1 win over Tigard in a Three Rivers League showdown played Tuesday at Tualatin High School.
"It's a huge win for our program," Tualatin coach Chris Duke said. "After starting league play with the loss at Tigard, our guys circled this game and got to work trying to get better in order to get a different result the second time around."
With the loss, Tigard, which scored a 1-0 home win over the Timberwolves in the teams' first meeting, back on Sept. 12, moved to 6-1 in TRL play (7-2 overall), putting the Tigers in a tie with Tualatin for first place in the league standings.
Tualatin improved to 6-1 in TRL games, and to 7-2 on the season, with the win.
"It's great to see that hard work pay off for a group of guys that have bought into our system and what we are trying to build here," Duke said. "Tigard is a quality team and it was a battle from start to finish."
Both teams' defenses — including senior Jarred Debban, sophomore Brandon Mendez, senior Sergio Islas and junior Jack Hallam for Tigard, and junior Cole Richmond, senior Nathan Buckalew, senior Tyler Zawaki and senior Hunter Popma for Tualatin — took charge during the first half of the match.
Both goalkeepers also stepped up. Tigard senior keeper Jackson Cleaver made a save on a second-touch header shot by Tualatin senior Ethan Elder, coming off a corner kick, with 33 minutes and 13 seconds left to play in the first half. Cleaver also leaped to grab a free-kick shot by Timberwolf senior Jose Jacintos, from 35 yards away, five minutes later.
Meanwhile, Tualatin senior keeper Ian Stuart also had to leap to punch away a free-kick shot by Tigard senior Marco Miller with 29:07 left in the first half.
Tigard senior midfielder Trevor Smith kept the pressure on, with three shots at the Tualatin goal in the final 27 minutes of the first half. Tualatin countered with shots by sophomore Hansi Katterle and junior Emmanuel Mayares, but the teams went to the halftime break knotted up in a scoreless tie.
However, Tigard was able to break through about 10 minutes into the second half. Senior Rasheed Tarhuni gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead when he make a run down the left side, get past a pair of Tualatin defenders and score from close range.
"That was a great individual effort from Rasheed Tarhuni," Duke said.
The Wolves battled back to tie the match near the midway mark of the second half. Freshman Remus Repcak got the goal for Tualatin, coming off an assist from junior Drew Carlile.
Carlile flicked the ball to Repcak, who connected on a half volley shot from the right side of the box, about 12 yards away, to make the score 1-1.
The Wolves got the game-winner with 7:45 left to play, when Mayares scored an unassisted goal, coming on a volley shot inside the near post, again from the right side of the box, about 12 yards away.
Tualatin fought off the Tigers the rest of the way to secure the 2-1 victory.
"Jose Jacintos was great from us in the middle tonight," Duke said. "He did the hard work of chasing down plays, getting stuck into tackles, and jump starting the offense. Nathan Buckalew and Hunter Popma turned in their usual solid performance at the back and Ian Stuart was fearless for us in goal, grabbing balls out of the air in heavy traffic."
The Wolves will be back in action on Thursday, when they travel to Lake Oswego for a league match starting at 7:30 p.m. On Tuesday, Tualatin will be home to face Canby in a league match starting at 7 p.m.
The Tigers will be back in action on Tuesday, when they host Lake Oswego in a Three Rivers League match starting at 7 p.m. at Tigard High School.
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