Tigard, which opens Pacific Conference play tonight, picks up its first win of the season, downing Sunset 1-0
by: JAIME VALDEZ, A FOOT UP – Tigard’s Alex Florence keeps control of the ball in the Tigers’ win at Sunset.

CEDAR MILL - Save for a 10-second stretch, Tigard's boys soccer game at Sunset was about as evenly matched as it gets.

Neither team made many threats against a top-notch defense as each side worked out the early season kinks in its offense during the non-conference game last Thursday at Sunset High School.

But 10 seconds was all it took for the Tigers to notch the 1-0 victory over the Apollos in a rematch of last season's state quarterfinal game.

Tigard sophomore forward Reid DeGeer provided the difference Thursday with a goal 14 minutes, 14 seconds into the second half. DeGeer gathered a cross from junior Daniel Hunter and banged a hard shot that Sunset defender Brad Paik raced in to deflect. DeGeer quickly regained possession, dribbled in past a defender and sent a shot over the keeper that slipped just inside the left post for the game's only score.

'I took the guy on, chipped it over his head and placed it in the corner,' DeGeer said. 'We played hard the whole time. This could be a good turning point for our team.'

Tigard started the season 0-2-1 before picking up its win against Sunset, whom it also beat 3-1 in the state quarterfinals last year. The Tigers open Pacific Conference play at 5 p.m. today in McMinnville.

'Hopefully this is a good transition point for us,' Tigard coach Gus Araujo said. 'Maybe this will be a springboard into league play.'

Neither team had many clean chances in the game with Sunset getting off 10 shots to Tigard's seven. Seniors Andrew Hickman (first half) and Brian Kostol (second half) split time in the net for the Tigers to preserve the combined shutout.

'Our goalies did a good job,' DeGeer said. 'Luckily we were able to finish a chance and they weren't.'

Sunset had a few opportunities in the waning moments. Apollos' forward Scott Gardner fired two hard shots at the Tigard goal with less than four minutes to play. His first shot was deflected by a Tualatin defender and the second also was redirected off a Tiger and rolled wide of the right post.

That set up Josh Herman's corner kick, which was well-placed but Kostel ran into the pack in front of the goal and slapped the ball out of harms way.

Sunset's final attempt at the equalizer was also thwarted by Kostol. Herman got a solid head on Paik's free kick from near midfield, but it went right at Kostol, who made the easy grab.

Tigard's best chance in the first half came when Vicente Cortez broke ahead of the pack in the 30th minute. He beat two defenders, but Sunset keeper Sam Leeding came out to deflect his shot then grabbed the loose ball to end the threat.

Tigard controlled action through the game's first 10 minutes before Sunset maintained possession much of the next 12 minutes. Toward the end of that, Herman fired a shot from 25 yards out on the left side toward the right post, but Hickman knocked the ball wide. The ensuing corner kick was headed out and cleared by Tigard.

'We've been trying a number of different players,' Araujo said. 'This was the last chance for them to impress going into league play. A number of guys stepped up and played where they need to be.'

Tigard's Pacific Conference home opener will be Tuesday against Forest Grove at 7 p.m.

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