Playoffs early for MHS soccer
In reality, the playoffs started early for the Madras boys' soccer team.
The White Buffalos faced a must-win match at The Dalles on Tuesday, Oct. 24 to advance to the 5A playoffs (match played after press time) to finish up Intermountain Conference play. A win puts Madras into the playoffs, starting on Saturday, Nov. 4. A loss ends the season.
"Definitely, when I talk to the team on Monday, I'll present the match at The Dalles as a playoff game," said Madras coach Paul Brown on Sunday evening. "We have to be ready to play right off the bat."
An unexpected tie after a loss put the Buffs into the must-win scenario. Madras lost at Mountain View 4-1 on Tuesday, Oct. 17 and then rallied for a 2-2 tie against Crook County on Thursday for a 2-2-2 mark.
Those results left the Buffs with eight IMC points (three for a win, one for a tie). That is two points behind The Dalles after a 2-1 loss to Mountain View on Saturday.
Madras 2, Crook County 2: Two Cowboy goals in the opening five minutes put plenty of pressure on the Buffs.
"We weren't quite ready to play at the start," Brown said. Madras faced the 2-0 deficit for the rest of the first half. At 13 minutes into the second half, Pablo Felix scored his 15th goal of the season off a crossing pass from Jansen Harrington.
Numerous Buff shots followed, a total of 18 Brown estimated.
"We had some really good shots, but I have to give their keeper (Jorge Toledo) credit," Brown said. "He stopped almost everything we presented to him. Crook County had three shots on goal in the second half. That's how dominating we were."
Felipe Reynoso created the tie by dribbling past several Crook County defenders to put in a shot at the 77th minute.
Mountain View 4, Madras 1: Breakaway goals usually aren't the Cougars' method of scoring.
Yet, in a match of playoff implications Mountain View was looking for any opportunity.
"This is a match we had to win," said Mountain View coach John Howkins in his English accent. "We're more of a controlled team, but this turned into a match of breakaways."
Yes, particularly on the left side by Mountain View four minutes apart in the first half. Kyle Robeson eluded the Madras defenders to launch a shot into the goal at the 25th minute. Then Chase Holloway used the same path to score at the 29th minute.
Those were two of the Cougars' 11 shots in the first half, some set up by six corner kicks. Buff keeper Efren Diaz was busy with seven saves.
Madras had four shots in the first half, the best opportunity in the ninth minute but the shot was high.
Mountain View limited the Buff chances by paying special attention to Pablo Felix. The senior did score in the waning seconds, also on a breakaway for his 14th goal this season.
"We knew how dangerous No. 10 (Felix) is," Howkins said. "So we concentrated on marking him."
Junior defender Brandon Rychard marked Felix every time Madras moved the ball past midfield.
Mountain View added goals seven and then 23 minutes into the second half. The Cougars finished with 21 shots with Diaz making 10 saves.
Notes: The IMC's No. 4 team will face the third-place finisher of the Midwestern Conference. Going into this week, Springfield and North Eugene are tied for third at 15 points. Springfield (5-4-0) could vault into second place with a home win against Thurston (5-2-2, 17 points) in a Tuesday, Oct. 24 match, North Eugene hosts fifth-place Willamette (2-7-0) the same day. Churchill (9-0-1) is the Midwestern champion after an early-season loss at Madras (3-2 on Sept. 9).