BOARDMAN — It was a high scoring affair in Boardman on Wednesday, as the Riverside Pirates hosted the Creswell Bulldogs in Round 1 of the 3A/2A/1A state championship playoffs.
From the start, the Pirates (14-0-1) maintained control of the game. Riverside took 25 shots on goal in the first half, and allowed Creswell into its half only twice — neither time led to a Bulldogs shot.
The scoring started early, and happened often. Senior Ulyces Lopez got things started with two back-to-back goals with a little over 25 minutes left until halftime. His first score was a beautifully placed shot that hit the inside of the right post and landed in the back of the net. His second was a header off a cross.
“The only option I had today was to score and that’s exactly what I did,” Lopez said. “I already knew they were going to man mark me coming into the game, and I just had to play my best.”
Creswell goalkeeper Jaxon Wilkerson had a busy night and made many good saves early on, but Riverside’s attack was too much for just one person to stop.
The Pirates used aggressive play and fancy footwork to bob and weave through defenders. They would enter the half up 5-0 after seniors Quincy Castillo and Kevin Madrigal both knocked one in, and senior goalkeeper Kevin Ruelas sent an undefendable penalty kick past Wilkerson.
After the break, Creswell showed signs of life and quickly moved into Riverside’s back third. The Bulldogs held the Pirates off for about 10 minutes before Riverside continued its scoring affair.
Junior Francisco Chavez and senior Jose Peralta scored back-to-back goals within the 60th minute, and senior Misael Madrigal found the back of the net minutes later to push the lead to 8-0.
Misael would be good for one more goal on the night and fellow seniors Alexis Mendoza and Quincey Castillo scored the final two goals for the double-digit win.
Creswell was finally about to score its own goal in the 77th minute when senior Tristen Ward went one-on-one with Ruelas, and came out the victor. Ward’s lone goal prevented Riverside’s eight shut out of the season — two of which were 11-0.
Riverside will host Oregon Episcopal on Saturday in the quarterfinals. The time has yet to be determined.
5A First Round
HERMISTON 1, HILLSBORO 0 — Hermiston made the three-plus hour trip west to face No. 3 Hillsboro in the first round of the 5A playoffs. The Bulldogs entered the match ranked No. 14, but just as head coach Rich Harshberger has said all season that ranking doesn’t reflect Hermiston’s efforts on the pitch.
In a heavily defensive game against the Spartans, but the Bulldogs had just enough left in the tank to grind out a 1-0 overtime victory.
There were a couple of early chances for Hermiston to get on the board, but the Bulldogs (10-3-3) just couldn’t execute the early opportunities.
The Spartans (11-4-1) brought high pressure, as Hermiston was expecting, but the defense and efforts of junior goalkeeper Juan Navarrete solidified the shutout.
“I’ve got to give a lot of create to the back line,” Harshberger said, “and Juan’s shutout, which was huge, was a key to our victory.”
There was a goal scare late in the second half when Hillsboro scored on a set piece, but the goal was called back as a Spartan was offsides when he scored.
Other than that chance Hillsboro didn’t get a lot of quality attacks, Harshberger added, and the scoreless 80 minutes put the Round 1 game into overtime.
“We knew we just had to score,” Harshberger said.
And Joel Mendez did just that. Mendez has been a valuable part of Hermiston’s late season success, and proved once again he has the innate ability to find the goal.
After the ball had bounced around the front of the box, Mendez was able to send it into the back of the net. His score came in 84th minute.
Hermiston will now face Bend on Saturday in the quarterfinals.
4A First Round
MAC-HI 3, MAZAMA 1 — Just one season ago, the Mac-Hi Pioneers got a quick taste of the state playoffs, winning a play-in game before losing in the first round to Madras.
But 2017 has been a special season for the Pioneers, finishing the regular season with 11 wins, a Greater Oregon League championship and a No. 3 seed in the Class 4A playoffs. On a cold, breezy evening on Wednesday the Pioneers’ season got even better as they defeated the No. 14 seed Mazama Vikings 3-1 at Shockman Field to advance to the 4A quarterfinals.
“This feels really good,” Mac-Hi’s Adrian Martinez said after the game. “Our team really wanted it and it feels good to be here at home and get the win.”
Mac-Hi (11-3) controlled the game for nearly all 80 minutes, using its speed and physicality to wear the Vikings down. Mazama had just eight shots in the game, while Mac-Hi had 18.
“It was really physical out there,” Martinez said of the game. “But we had to be able to play strong, even when they hit us we had to keep our heads in the game and keep being positive and pushing forward.”
Martinez scored two goals for the Pioneers, including the game’s first goal with 25:41 left in the first half. The senior controlled the ball near the box and fired a shot that rebounded off Mazama’s goalkeeper and bounced right back to him which he buried into the empty net for the early 1-0 lead.
Mazama scored the equalizer with 24:44 left in the second half on a goal by Kole Phair. And then just three minutes later, Martinez gave the Pioneers the lead back burying another rebound for the 2-1 advantage.
“It’s a great feeling, I can tell you that,” Martinez said of his goals. “To be able to get that beginning goal and then the one that gave us the lead back, it was a great feeling to be able to help the team.”
Kael Castruita gave the Pioneers some breathing room with a goal to make it 3-1 with 8:52 left to play.
Mac-Hi next hosts No. 6 Cottage Grove on Saturday with time TBD.