BOARDMAN — It was two years ago that the Riverside Pirates dropped the first round of the 3A/2A/1A girls soccer state tournament to Cascade Christian by one goal scored in overtime.
On Tuesday, the Pirates got the rematch they’d been waiting for.
In their first meeting since that playoff game in 2017, the Riverside Pirates, who cruised through Eastern Oregon League play to take the conference title, escaped the first round of the 3A/2A/1A state playoffs after Marisol Pacheco’s goal in overtime took down the visiting Challengers 2-1.
The win marks the second season in a row that the Pirates will advance to the quarterfinals.
“I’m really proud of my team,” said Pacheco, a sophomore forward. “Last year, we lost a lot of players, but we worked with what we had. We kept pushing forward. Hopefully, we can keep going.”
Both teams came close, but neither could manage a goal for the first 36 minutes of the contest. The Challengers got on the board with 2:45 left in the half when sophomore Katie Erno sent a goal sailing just above Riverside sophomore keeper Areli Cambero’s reach.
Riverside responded, but it wouldn’t be until after the halftime break.
Senior forward Neftali Pacheco sent a shot right into the Challengers’ net in the 42nd minute to tie the score at 1-1 and keep the Pirates afloat.
“We were just very prepared,” Pacheco said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We had to bring the pressure and not get down on ourselves just because (Cascade Christian) scored a goal. It felt really good to know that I made a goal to keep us going.”
Riverside sophomore midfielder Valeria Echevarria dribbled the ball downfield in an attempt to pull ahead in the final seconds, but Challengers junior Zoie Fisher pushed the ball out of bounds to keep the Pirates at bay and push the contest into overtime.
“We were dominating the first half,” Riverside coach Carlos Velasco said. “I told them they were doing all the good things they needed to do, except for scoring. We needed to finish it off.”
Neftali Pacheco and senior forward Yoanna Lopez both had shots on goal early into the first of two 10-minute overtime periods, but Marisol Pacheco sealed the win with her goal that came with just 33 seconds left to play, advancing the Pirates to the next round.
“My blood was pumping,” Pacheco said. “I was ready. I kept shooting and shooting but nothing would go in. I just kept shooting until I finally got one.”
Junior midfielder Cinthya Diaz assisted Pacheco with another goal in the second overtime contest, but an offsides penalty negated the score. But the Challengers remained goalless for the rest of the match, keeping the Pirates out front for good.
“It’s nice to get ’em back,” Velasco said. “The girls did it. They stayed in the game and played as a team.”
The Pirates will host the Lewis & Clark League’s top-ranked Catlin Gabel Eagles this Saturday in a quarterfinals match.