Tigard tries, but can't get equalizer against Grant
PORTLAND — The Tigard High School boys soccer team tried.
The Tigers really, really tried hard. They did everything they could do.
However, the one thing they couldn't do — try as hard as they did — was put the ball in the goal.
Tigard, despite turning in a dominating second-half performance, were edged 1-0 by Grant in a Class 6A state playoff second-round match played Nov. 6 at Strasser Field in Delta Park.
"I felt that we dominated," Tigard senior midfielder Rasheed Tarhuni said after the match. "I don't think the ball was on their side at all in the second half. We tried to find the net, but, like (Tigard coach) Angelo (Simonetti) said, 'sometimes the game doesn't go your way.'"
"I was thinking about it. In life, you have your ups and your downs," Tigard senior midfielder Marco Millan said. "In this game, the up was that we played great soccer. But, the down was that we couldn't put the ball in the back of the net. It just didn't happen for us."
"Obviously, we didn't get the result we wanted today, but we played with a lot of heart," Tigard senior midfielder Trevor Smith said. "We controlled things that we could control, so I'm happy with that. The last little piece wouldn't come."
With the win, Grant, the No. 4 team out of the Portland Interscholastic League, and the No. 6 team in the final OSAA power rankings, improved to 10-3-3 on the season, to that point. The Generals also advanced to Saturday's quarterfinal round, where they lost 1-0 to PIL rival Franklin.
Tigard, the Three Rivers League champion, and the No. 11 team in the power rankings, finished its season with a final overall record of 12-3-1.
"I'm just so proud of my boys," Tarhuni said. "We fought from the beginning of the season. People doubted us. They didn't believe that we could get back-to-back league championships."
"It's always fun playing high school soccer," Smith said. "It's always a good time, especially this season. We had a great group of guys. We kept improving."
"We had our ups, we had our downs, but it was such a fun ride with these kids," Millan said. "Every minute of it was amazing, even the bad moments."
Grant was able to get on the scoreboard early in the second-round match, getting a short-range goal by senior Owen Cooper-Karl, coming off a pass from senior Chase Travis, giving the Generals a 1-0 lead with 27 minutes and 50 seconds left to play in the first half.
That would be Grant's only shot on goal in the first half, thanks to the Tiger defense of senior Jared Debban, sophomore Brandon Mendez, junior Jack Hallam, senior Carlos Valdovinos and senior Sergio Islas, among others.
The Tigers got a pair of first-half shots from senior Jacob Theodoroff, but both of those attempts sailed over the crossbar of the Grant goal, leaving the Generals with a 1-0 lead at halftime.
Tigard seemed to turn up its intensity even more in the second half. Theodoroff had a shot from 10 yards out blocked on a dive by Grant senior goalkeeper Nate Semler, just 1:42 into the second half.
The Tigers returned the favor, with senior goalkeeper Jackson Cleaver making a diving block of a shot by Grant junior Jake Woolley, coming with 25:36 left in the match. That would be the Generals' only shot on goal in the second half.
Meanwhile, Tigard stayed on the attack. Millan had a shot from 15 yards away, off a pass from Tarhuni, drift just wide right of the Grant goal with 21:08 left to play. Less than a minute later, Hallam had a header flick shot, off a Smith free kick pass, saved by Semler.
Smith then had a free kick attempt, from 22 yards away, fly just over the crossbar of the Grant goal with 10:16 remaining. Then, with 5:58 left to play, Theodoroff had a top-spin shot from 22 yards away saved by a leaping Semler. Another attempt by Theodoroff, coming with 2:48 remaining, was wide right of the General goal, leaving Grant with the 1-0 victory.
"The only thing we didn't do in that second half was put it in the back of the net," Tarhuni said "Sometimes, that happens, but I'm more than proud of our boys. Having nine seniors in the starting lineup, we knew that we had to give 110 percent. We had to give it all we had. We knew this was possibly the last game of our high school careers, so we had to leave it all on the field."
"It was an amazing season," Millan said. "It was fun."
For the match, Tigard had four shots on goal and five corner kicks. Grant had two shots on goal and three corner kicks.
The match marked the final high school match for Tigard seniors Cleaver, Smith, Debban, Valdovinos, Tarhuni, Ivan Orozco, Millan, Theodoroff, Islas and Bager Al-Rikabi.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.