Bulldogs stutter at home

Summit's Martin Canovas and Hermiston's Juan Carlos Ochoa get tangled up during Saturday's game at Sandstone Middle School.<br> Staff photo by Sarah Britain

HERMISTON - Frustration continued to build for the Hermiston boys' soccer team Saturday as an injury-riddled roster took a 4-0 loss to Summit at Sandstone Middle School.

Though the game took place on both ends of the field, Hermiston's (2-8-0, 0-2-0 Intermountain) attempts on the goal came up fruitless while Summit's (4-3-2, 1-0-1 IMC) attacks found the net time and again.

"We aren't executing the way we need to," Hermiston coach Rich Harshberger said. "We had to make some big shifts and we haven't got the feel for it yet."

Summit scored all four goals close to Hermiston keeper Connor McMichael, getting two from T.J. Whitehall, one from Lucas Deatherage and one from Nicholas Devine. The Storm also fired two shots off the cross bar in the second half, putting plenty of pressure on McMichael.

While Hermiston pushed the ball up the field with some success, getting good open shots was another issue. The Bulldogs' long kicks carried too far, their short shots failed to generate enough power and passing became all but nonexistent once deep into Summit territory.

The game also became increasingly physical as the Bulldogs fell behind, and players from both teams had words with the officials about calls and non-calls.

"It's actually better than it has been," Harshberger said. "The kids can't focus on what the ref's calling, and we're still working on the positive attitude."

Summit coach Ron Kidder said his team played much better than it did against Pendleton Friday, which resulted in a 1-1 tie. Though the team hoped to return to central Oregon with six points, bringing home four will work for the team.

The loss for Hermiston, paired with Friday's 7-1 defeat at the hands of Mountain View, puts the Bulldogs in a rough spot the rest of the way, needing to find some road wins fast to stay eligible for the playoffs.

"It's not unattainable," Harshberger said about the Bulldogs' chances. "We had a little niche at the beginning of the season and we need to find a way to get back there."

Hermiston has won just one of its past nine games after going 2-1 to start the season. The squad travels to play The Dalles-Wahtonka Tuesday and hosts Madras Saturday in what it hopes will be a game to climb back to .500 in league play.

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