BOARDMAN — Marisol Pacheco scored a team-high 18 goals on the season, with 12 assists, and helped the Riverside girls soccer team to eight shutouts along the way.
It’s only natural that the Eastern Oregon league would name the Pirates’ sophomore forward as their all-conference Player of the Year.
“She’s always the first one to get to the field,” Riverside head coach Carlos Velasco said of Pacheco. “She’s always the first person to be ready. She’s always on it. It’s really nice to have a player like her on the team. She’s always talking to her team and motivating them. Sometimes, it’s tough for some players, but she’s a natural.”
Three of Pacecho’s teammates — senior defender Bianca Avalos, junior defender Jaylene Altamirano, and junior midfielder Cinthya Diaz — joined her on this season’s EOL all-conference honors.
The Pirates (12-3-2, 7-0-1 EOL) finished the year as league champions and made a run at the state title, falling 5-0 in the quarterfinals to the Catlin Gabel Eagles, who would go on to be crowned the 3A/2A/1A state champions. It was the second season in a row that the Pirates fell in a quarterfinals matchup.
“I felt really good about our season’s performance,” said Velasco, who was selected as the EOL’s Coach of the Year. “Even though we lost to the champions, I believe we played a really good game against them.”
The Umatilla Vikings, who were right behind the Pirates at No. 2 in the league standings, outnumber Riverside in first-team selections with five. Senior forward Patty Burres, junior forward Devina Monreal, sophomore forward Taylor Durfey, senior defender Lizzy Burres, and junior goalkeeper Nataly Vazquez represent the Vikings on the first-team list.
“After coaching for 13 years, this is probably one of the best teams I’ve coached,” Vikings head coach Tim Lee said. “This was probably, top to bottom, one of the most sound teams we’ve had at Umatilla. This group showed tremendous fortitude. They had great teamwork and chemistry. It really was a coach’s dream.”
The Vikings (6-5-3, 5-1-2 EOL) ended their regular season with a three-match streak, but also found trouble against Catlin Gabel, falling 8-0 to the Eagles in the first round of state.
“With our league being as stretched out as it is, the girls did a good job of bringing our style to every game,” Lee said. “They were focused on being the best they could be instead of playing at the other team’s level.”
Irrigon freshman Caren Cardenas and Nyssa senior Cristal Trinidad round out this year’s first-team honorees.
Riverside also placed four more athletes in the all-league second team — senior Neftali Pacheco, freshman Aleydis Torres, sophomore Yazeli Ayala, and sophomore keeper Arely Cambero.
Irrigon sophomore Liliana Angeles and junior Brianna Perez represent the Knights on the second team. Umatilla juniors Kalei Blair and Martha Earl were also second-team selections. Four Rivers senior Liliana Diaz, and Nyssa senior Raign Vineyard, junior Ashley Macedo, and sophomore Lynzie Torres also made the cut.