The boys soccer team loses one to Gresham but holds its own against Gopher playmakers Adrian Buturoaga and Cesar Higuera
The Gresham Gophers were ahead by two. They seemed to be in control of the Oct. 11 contest versus Sandy.
But doubts lingered in the air.
However, when Sandy's Jordan Hufendick was called for shoulder-tackling Gresham's Adrian Buturoaga, a free kick was awarded to the Gophers.
And their aim was true.
Scott Shropshire blasted in a goal to give Gresham a 3-0 lead, and, ultimately, the win.
Sandy foreign exchange student Juan Bitar - a forward from Colombia - almost got the Pioneers back into the game, though.
Bitar misfired from mid-range at the 68-minute mark and sailed another shot over the crossbar from close-in a few moments later.
The shots would have put a dent in the Gopher lead and given new life to Sandy.
But things just didn't work out that way.
'He got a little anxious,' Sandy coach Garet Luebbert said of Bitar. '(But) he's been a nice addition…He'll make some things happen.'
Gresham got its first goal in the 15th minute courtesy of Cesar Higeura off an assist from Buturoaga.
And the Gophers got their second goal of the evening when Hector Santana charged one in off an assist from Ramiro Cortes in the 33rd minute.
Sandy goalie Jesus Lira put forth a good effort for most of the night, making particularly nice saves in the 22nd and 65th minutes.
Sandy's inability to score was its undoing though.
That fact was not lost upon Luebbert.
'It's so hard,' Luebbert said after the game. 'Not so much losing, but not scoring points.'
Luebbert thought the Pioneers would carry in some momentum from a recent three-goal game versus David Douglas.
In that game, Kevin Maples scored the Pioneers' initial goal, and junior Peter Albright added two of his own in a 4-3 loss.
Ultimately, the Pioneers were unable to conjure up that kind of offense against Gresham.
Odds and ends: Bitar is one of two foreign exchange students on Sandy's roster.
The other is defender Evan Larsen, who is from Norway.
'They're both awesome kids,' Luebbert said. 'They really help our depth.'
Gresham's junior varsity squad is a powder keg of young talent, according to more than one coach in attendance on Oct. 11. The Gophers are said to have a nice collection of athleticism and speed.
Looking ahead: The Pioneers host Reynolds at Sandy High School on Thursday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. The game could be Sandy's best opportunity to get in the win column in 2006.