Wolves rally to force a tie when they battle the defending state champs
BEAVERTON - If the Tualatin High School boys soccer team was looking to gain some momentum going into Pacific Conference play, it just may have found it - and then some - last week.
The Timberwolves, in their final non-league match before beginning league play, rallied to tie Jesuit 1-1 in a contest played last Thursday at Jesuit High School.
'This is big,' said Tualatin senior Bryan Papen, who scored the game-tying goal with 16 minutes and 55 seconds remaining in the second half. 'We came into this game wanting to see where we are.'
With the tie, Tualatin moved to 2-0-2 on the season. Jesuit, which beat Westview in last year's Class 4A state championship match, moved to 2-0-1 on the season at that point.
'Jesuit is a great team,' Tualatin coach Eric McClellan said. 'They're well-coached and fundamentally sound. But our guys are right up there with them. They showed that tonight.'
Tualatin, in its contest with the talented Crusaders, found itself having to battle from behind from the early going.
Jesuit, with junior Peter Foster in the right place at the right time, grabbed a 1-0 lead just 4 minutes and 45 seconds into the rain-soaked first half.
On the Crusader scoring play, Tualatin junior goalkeeper Gabe Tatz deflected a cross by Jesuit senior Matt Van Houten. Tatz then quickly dived back to his right to block a shot attempt by Drew Smilley. But the ball bounded right to Foster, who, from close range, put the ball into the back of the net to give Jesuit its 1-0 advantage.
'That was a mistake on our part,' McClellan said. 'Gabe made two great saves, but we did a bit of ball-watching after that.'
Jesuit stayed on the offensive for most of the first half. But Tatz, and the rest of the Timberwolf defense, including Papen, sophomore Kyle Wagner, senior Jeff Wheeler and senior Jason Draper, wouldn't let the Crusaders add on to their lead.
'We didn't want to lose,' Papen said of the defensive stand. 'We knew we had to stay tough.'
The Wolves had just one shot on goal in the first half, a free kick attempt by senior Jarad Van Schaik that was deflected to a corner kick.
Tualatin seemed to turn up its intensity in the second half. In the opening minutes, Draper made a running slide to knock the ball away from Van Houten on a breakaway opportunity. Then, with 29:50 left to play, Tatz deflected a hard shot by Van Houten and Timberwolf junior Jordan Lichty cleared away the loose ball.
Meanwhile, Van Schaik and the rest of the Tualatin offense kept putting more and more pressure on the Jesuit defense. Still, with less than 20 minutes to play, The Wolves still found themselves trailing 1-0.
But Papen, with the help of his teammates took care of that.
Tualatin, with 16:55 to play, was able to tie the match at 1-1 on a scoring play started by a corner kick by junior Kyle Wallace. Van Schaik got a head on the kick, knocking it back to Wallace.
Wallace then dribbled in with the ball before passing it to Papen, who put his shot from eight yards away inside the right post of the Jesuit goal, tying the match at 1-1.
'That felt amazing,' Papen said. 'I got a shoulder to the stomach from one of my teammates during the celebration, but it was worth it. Kyle made a great play.'
Neither team was able to score in the final minutes - with Tatz punching away a free kick by Andy Wolverton with 5:47 remaining - leaving the teams with the 1-1 tie.
'With the depth we have, and our senior leadership, we'll always be in games,' McClellan said. 'We came into this one just wanting to play well. We've got a great group of guys who always work hard.'