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Wolves, Rams stay all knotted up

Tualatin plays strong defense as the teams play to a 0-0 tie


by: DAN BROOD - IN CONTROL -- Tualatin High School junior Jasen Armillas keeps control of the ball during Tuesday's match with Central Catholic. TUALATIN — Well, it wasn’t a loss.

But it wasn’t a win, either.

And, the Tualatin High School boys soccer team wasn’t exactly satisfied with its performance.

The Timberwolves said they need to make some improvement after they battled Central Catholic to a 0-0 tie in a non-league match played Tuesday at Tualatin High School.

“We have to step it up a bit,” Tualatin junior goalkeeper Sebastian Del Prete said after the match. “We got off to a good start to the season, but haven’t played as well the last couple of games. We have to take care of this. We have high hopes, and we have a good team — we just need to get it going.”

Central Catholic, from the Mt. Hood Conference, moved to 0-0-3 on the season with the tie. The Timberwolves are now 2-1-2 on the season following Tuesday’s deadlock.

“It’s a little frustrating,” first-year Tualatin coach Jimmy Velasco said. “We’re not playing how I know we can play and how I want us to play. Now is the time to fix these problems. I want us to steadily keep getting better.”by: DAN BROOD - TURF WAR -- Tualatin senior Jonathan Thayer (right) battles Central Catholic junior Peter Bergmann for the ball.

Despite the scoreless tie, Tualatin seemed to have some bright moments during the match. The Wolves created some scoring chances on offense and they played solid on defense. Del Prete, despite being cleated in the knee during the contest, made some clutch saves late in the match.

“I wanted to keep us in the game,” said Del Prete, who had a bruised, swollen knee after the contest.

Del Prete made his presence felt early in the match, as he punched away a hard shot by Central Catholic junior Peter Bergmann six minutes into the contest.

The Timberwolf defense, including junior Jake Gellos, junior Graham Fletcher and junior Ryan Hyatt, allowed the Rams to get just one more shot on goal the rest of the first half.

Tualatin had its first scoring opportunity with 26 minutes and 44 seconds left in the opening half, when senior forward Saif Al Rikabi had a shot on goal from 17 yards out off a pass from senior midfielder Trevor Moore. But Central Catholic junior goalkeeper Tristan Cooper deflected the shot to a corner kick.

Al Rikabi had another shot on goal in the first half — a header attempt off a free kick by senior Jonathan Thayer — and sophomore Sam Kirby and Hyatt also had attempts, but they wouldn’t be able to convert in the scoreless first half.

The Timberwolves seemed to turn up their intensity in the opening minutes of the second half.

Al Rikabi came close to scoring in a scramble in front of the Central Catholic goal in the first minute of the half. Five minutes into the half, Tualatin junior forward Madiba Sutton had a hard-hit shot from 35 yards out sail over the crossbar of the Ram goal.

Two minutes after that, Tualatin senior Jasen Armillas had a header shot off a corner kick by Thayer saved on a dive by Cooper.

The Wolves had another opportunity coming with 26:42 left in the match, when Moore had a high, hard shot from 25 yards out, but Cooper made a leaping save.

The Rams tried to claim momentum, and the match’s first lead, later in the half. But the Tualatin defense, and De Prete, wouldn’t let them capitalize.

With 23:45 left in the half, Central Catholic sophomore Gabe Parrish had an open shot from 20 yards out, but Del Prete, diving to his left, slapped the ball away.

Then, with just 8:28 remaining, Bergmann had a running, open attempt from 15 yards out, but Del Prete again made a diving save.

Neither team had a prime chance in the final minutes, as they ended up settling for the 0-0 draw.

“We’ve got a long journey of soccer ahead of us,” Del Prete said. “I think we just have to communicate better. I need to communicate more with my teammates.”

“A lot of this is just mental,” Velasco said. “I think it will come around.”

Prior to the tie with Central Catholic, Tualatin battled David Douglas to a 3-3 tie in a non-league match played last Thursday at David Douglas High School. In that contest, the Timberwolves trailed 3-0 before scoring three late goals to get the tie.

Tualatin will be back in action today (Thursday) when it faces Grant in a non-league match set to start at 4:15 p.m. at Grant High School.