MILTON-FREEWATER — You’ll have to excuse the Mac-Hi boys soccer team if they were less than thrilled with a 3-1 win over the Tillamook Cheesemakers on Tuesday in the first round of the Class 4A?OSAA state playoffs.

The Pioneers dispatched the Cheesemakers with the nonchalance that comes from repeated playoff runs, then spent the next few minutes rehashing the things they did wrong.

Too few shots, too many late passes, and a complete defensive collapse by the backups that allowed Tillamook’s only goal were a few of the sore spots as the team entered its 12th straight postseason.

“That’s what we’ve been talking about, we take to one too many touches in front of the goal and we hesitate to take a shot,”?said Mac-Hi coach Jose Garcia. “We’ve got to finish and we’ve got to keep the momentum going.”

After several near misses by Mac-Hi, Sergio Alvarez opened the scoring in the 29th minute from just in front of the penalty line when he one-touched a pass from Cristian Torres back the direction it came and into the bottom corner of the net.

He could only wince as a pair of open shots just before halftime appeared to be on a guided path to Tillamook goalkeeper Sergio Jimenez.

“We couldn’t get one in,”?said Alvarez, who had another point-blank miss in the second half after beating his defender between the legs. “We had to shoot it to the sides (of the goal) more.”

The Pioneers (13-1-1) quickly put the Cheesemakers (9-3-3) on their heels in the second half as Torres beat Jimenez on the far post to go up 2-0 in the 41st minute. The junior midfielder received a long pass on the right sideline, then cut toward the goal past the last defender to give him a one-on-one chance against the freshman Cheesemaker.

“You just have to try to fight for every ball, that’s how I?got that first goal,”?Torres said.

Torres had another breakaway minutes later and a hard tackle inside the box sent him to the penalty line. He put the Pioneers up 3-0 in the 47th minute, narrowly beating Jiminez to the left post before a subdued celebration.

“On that shot I?was a little scared because I?saw the goalie almost blocking it,”?Torres said. “So when the ball went in I was like, don’t even celebrate because we’re up and I?don’t want to make it look too bad to the other team.”

The Cheesemakers refused to lay down in their hole, and the play took a decidedly rougher edge from there — leading to a Tillamook yellow card in the 53rd minute.

The referees kept control of the action without impeding play, though, and Garcia attempted to work some underclassmen onto the field in the final 20 minutes.

That was when Tillamook’s Ernesto Mondragon broke free of the back line to score on a breakaway.

“Once we were up we got too confident,”?Torres said. “And that’s when that goal happened, which got us down a little bit.”

The fact that the Pioneers couldn’t find very many reasons to pat themselves on the back isn’t indicative of how the game unfolded on Tuesday. It’s a sign of a team with much bigger plans than one playoff win.

Mac-Hi’s next game is on Saturday when they host Sisters (13-1-1) in the second round. Sisters defeated North Marion, 2-1, on penalty kicks (5-4) on Tuesday. Saturday’s game time had not been determined by press time.

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Contact Matt Entrup at mentrup@eastoregonian.com or (541)?966-0838.

  

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