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Beaver boys get their game on

Stung by a loss to Westview, the Beavers come back on Monday
by: Miles Vance AIR WAR – Aloha junior Gerson Cordon (left) and Beaverton senior Austin Coward get airborne to battle for a header during Beaverton’s 4-0 win on Monday night at Aloha High School.

ALOHA - Expectations for the Beaverton boys soccer team are sky-high this year, and they probably should be.

The Beavers, after all, played their way into the 2010 Class 6A state championship and brought back 16 seniors for the 2011 season.

But that doesn't mean there won't be speed bumps in the road that is the 2011 season.

Beaverton hit one of those speed bumps last week - and hit it hard - in a 4-2 loss to Westview, but came back with a strong and focused performance on Monday. There, the Beavers beat Aloha 4-0 at Aloha High School and lifted their Metro League record to 2-1-1 and their overall mark to 6-1-1.

'We came out here off a tough loss to Westview last week and we wanted to prove we're still state contenders,' said Beaverton senior Nick Lewis, who had two goals and an assist against Aloha. 'We had a point to prove, so we put what we practice into play and we proved our point.'

'We should have won (the Westview) game, but we came out flat,' said Beaverton senior midfielder Mario Ramirez, who had a goal and an assist against the Warriors. 'So today we came out with as much energy as possible to put in the effort so we could get the win after a loss and a tie.'

'When we played Westview last Thursday, we came out real casual and didn't press like we did tonight,' said Beaverton coach Ryan Youngblood. 'But we hit training the next day and that was the focus - we need to press and disrupt their play and not allow them to play. And we need to continue that through the rest of the season.'

The Warriors suffered from the Beavers' intensity all night long, but still believe they can compete with Beaverton and with the rest of the Metro League if they clean up the mistakes on their side.

'I think we can (beat Beaverton),' said Aloha senior forward Christian Wood. 'We just need to hustle more, play more simple and I think we got it.'

'The biggest problem we had was the amount of mistakes we made throughout the entire game,' said Aloha coach Eric Wise. 'We seemed to focus more on reacting to what Beaverton was doing rather than to try and dictate play ourselves.'

While Beaverton held the upper hand most of the way, the Warriors gave up just one goal in the opening half. Indeed, the Beavers' marksmanship was mostly off-target early in the game, but when they got a break, they knew just what to do with it.

Following a missed shot by Beaverton's Junior Galan, Lewis picked off a short goal kick by Aloha keeper Jorge Rodriguez 20 yards downfield. Lewis then sprinted toward goal with Aloha junior defender Edgar Rivera on his left shoulder and struck a shot past the sliding, charging Rodriguez to the left corner of the net to make it 1-0 with 22 minutes, 2 seconds left in the first half.

'I got lucky there, but I capitalized on it,' Lewis said.

Rivera and Wood both saw shots stopped by Beaverton keeper Brian Rubin in the final 20 minutes of the half, while Ramirez struck a corner kick from the left side of the field that skipped just past the edge of the Aloha goal with four minutes left in the half to keep the score at 1-0.

Beaverton made sure it didn't stay that way, though. With 29:42 remaining in the second half, Ramirez collected a deflected ball 10 yards out of the Aloha goal, dribbled past one defender and put the ball away in the left corner of the goal for a 2-0 lead.

For the longest time, it looked like this one would finish at 2-0, but the Beavers scored twice more in the final 4:51 to pull away. Ramirez set up his team's third goal with a hard pass to senior Jeremy Winston in the center of the penalty box. There, Winston controlled the ball quickly and knocked it home to make it 3-0.

Lewis then tacked on a penalty kick goal with 2:35 remaining for the final 4-0 margin.

Aloha's best chance to score in the game also came late in the second half when junior Jose Mejia Tejada hammered a hard shot in traffic that Rubin was able to deflect out and away with four minutes left on the clock.

'We played the whole game to score goals and to keep that pressure up,' Ramirez said. 'We felt that we didn't do that our previous game, but thankfully, it was in the beginning of the season so now we've just got to build going forward so we can get rolling through the playoffs like we did last year.'

'Offensively, (we found) a little bit of rhythm and those pieces are starting to come together,' Youngblood added. But 'it's one thing to start to get the pieces to come together, it's another to be consistent. If we're going to be one of those top teams, we have to play like that every night. We can't take nights off and have things handed to us.'

For their part, the Warriors knew they just needed to learn from the loss and get better.

'We've just got to work harder and play simple, and I think we can,' Wood said.

'It was by far our worst performance of the Metro League, and giving up that first goal seemed to really hurt us mentally,' Wise added. 'Mental toughness has been our issue that we just can't seem to overcome.'