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A 1-0 loss ends MHS playoff hopes

The dream of a fourth consecutive trip to the state playoffs fell just short for the Madras boys' soccer team.
   The White Buffalos lost 1-0 at The Dalles in a Tuesday, Oct. 24 match. Madras needed to win to finish among the top four in the Intermountain Conference to advance to the 5A playoffs.
   The host IndianEagles scored 23 minutes into the match on a breakaway. It was one of 16 shots for the hosts according to statistics from The Dalles Chronicle.
   "We've been hurt by breakaways a few times this season," Madras coach Paul Brown said. "Even though, being down a goal we felt confident. We'd been down by two, three or more goals earlier this season."
   Such as the previous match, trailing visiting Crook County 2-0 before forcing a 2-2 tie in the final minute.
   The Buffs had plenty of chances to score, Brown said. Madras had eight shots compared to 16 for The Dalles. Each team had three corner kicks with Buff keeper Efren Diaz making six saves.
   "We had three shots that their keeper made outstanding saves on," Brown said. "We had a couple of other shots which just didn't go into the net."
   It was the fourth time Madras was shutout with three losses. All were against playoff-bound teams. The Buffs had a 0-0 tie in IMC play along with a nonleague shutout loss. Madras was also shut out by IMC champ Bend (ranked No. 2 in the 5A coaches' poll).
   "Before the season, I thought we'd finish between third and fifth in the IMC," Brown said. "Unfortunately, we were fifth."
   The loss ends the dream of four-year varsity seniors Pablo Felix and Sergio Aguirre of participating in the playoffs each season. Felix finished this season with 15 goals as Madras scored 27 this season.
   "Having a very talented player such as Pablo is great," Brown said. "Not only could he score, but he could pass well. As the season went along, teams really concentrated on stopping him. He had a hard time scoring and finding open players to pass to."
   Brown cited the Mountain View match in which one Cougar defender rarely left Felix and a couple more were nearby when the Buff senior had the ball.
   Madras finished with an overall 5-5-3 mark. Of those 13 matches, eight matches were against teams in the playoffs, going 2-4-2. The Buffs also defeated Klamath Union (2-1), a team in contention for the Southern Sky's third playoff berth.
   "This program is getting better and better," Brown said. "Moving up to 5A was a challenge."
   Notes: Bend claimed the IMC title with an unbeaten 7-0-0 mark, capped by a 2-0 win against Summit. Mountain View claimed second with a 4-0 win at Crook County. The Cougars won their final three matches, starting with a 4-1 victory against Madras on Oct. 17. The Dalles has the IMC's third seed and Summit is No. 4. Bend and Mountain View have first-round byes, starting the playoffs on Tuesday, Nov. 7.