Wilsonville boys soccer team comes up short in state championship game
HILLSBORO — With one second remaining, Wilsonville showed the heart that got the Wildcats to the Class 5A state championship game, as Joseph Friedman scored on a header from a cross by Adam Landy.
But the goal was not enough as the Wildcats lost to North West Oregon Conference rival La Salle Prep 2-1 Saturday morning at Hillsboro Stadium.
"Even down two goals, these guys pushing for a goal, scoring with one second left, it speaks volumes about the character of our team," Wilsonville coach Ian Reschke said. "They didn't fold and they haven't all year."
The championship match was the second time the two squads had faced off in the last month with La Salle winning 1-0 at Wilsonville on a penalty kick with 10 minutes remaining.
"I watched that game again, and watching the video, I said we can play with these guys," Reschke said. "We don't need to sit in and park the bus. We just need to play smart and compete. I thought we matched up really well. There's a lot of talent on that team."
Captains Luke Strange and Noa Taylor have led La Salle's attack, but it was sophomore Mizael Harris' goal that gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute.
"He was definitely on our scouting report," Reschke said of Harris. "He's crafty. He's quick. We knew that coming in. We could have done a better job of providing secondary support, but he made the play. He made the finish. You've got to give him credit for that."
Wilsonville was able to possess the ball more in the second half.
"We talked about that at halftime that we were panicking too much and we need to settle the ball down and play to our strengths," Reschke said. "Our players can play possession when they believe they can, even against a good team like La Salle. If we can hold the possession, and take some pressure off of our defense, it's going to help us out. We just didn't get the ball behind La Salle's defense enough to create enough opportunities."
Wilsonville's Cameron Little and Sam Blohn put shots on goal in the first 10 minutes of the second half, but both were saved by La Salle goalkeeper Quintin Castner.
"Credit to La Salle," Reschke said. "They have good athletes in the back that really shut us down, and the few opportunities that we did have, we just didn't take advantage of. It just came down to they made plays in those moments and we weren't able to make plays. We certainly had chances that we could have put on goal but we didn't."
In the 72nd minute, Harris then extended the Falcons lead to 2-0 on an assist from Taylor.
"He just found that crease on the second goal and just got in behind," Reschke said. "He was just in the right place at the right time and made a good run in the box. On their two goals, in the playoffs we had definitely face similar situations and made those plays and today we didn't, and that was the difference."
La Salle won the state title after falling in the championship game last year.
"They were here last year. They have that experience," Reschke said. "I think experience might have been the difference there. We did what we could, and the players did all that the coaching staff asked. They gave 100 percent effort and did what we asked them to do and let the chips fall where they may. I'm just proud of this group and the way they competed."
The Wildcats attempted six shots in the game. Four were on goal.
La Salle had allowed just one goal in the playoffs and six during the regular season.
"You've got to respect their team," Landy said. "Skillswise, they're one of the best, if not the best team in 5A. I have a lot of respect for that team. I have a lot of respect for the players on that team. They deserve the win, but we have more heart than any other team I've played with. The intensity that we bring is like nothing I've ever felt. We may not have the skill that other teams have, like La Salle, but as a team we play with more heart than I've ever seen. I love to be a part of it. We really wanted it pretty bad and it just didn't go our way. But I'm proud of our team and I'm proud of how far we came."
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