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Tigers start fast, win big

Boys soccer: Tigard scores three first-half goals on its way to posting a 3-1 victory
by: DAN BROOD RIVAL RUMBLE — Tigard senior Drew Nyberg (right) tries to stay in front of Tualatin’s Domenico Del Prete in Tuesday’s match. Nyberg had a goal for the Tigers in their 3-1 win.

TUALATIN - The Tigard High School boys soccer team was fired-up.

The Tigers, still stinging from a home loss to rival Tualatin earlier in the season, were also plenty motivated.

Tigard took all of that adrenaline and motivation and turned it into a nice early lead - which led to what the Tigers considered to be an even nicer victory.

The fired-up Tigers, striking quickly, jumped out to a 3-0 first-half lead on their way to posting a 3-1 win over the Timberwolves in a Pacific Conference match played Tuesday at Tualatin High School.

'This was pretty big for us,' Tigard senior goalkeeper Alberto Amaya said after the match. 'They beat us on our turf earlier this year (a 3-2 Tualatin win on Sept. 20), so we really wanted to beat them here.'

'It was really big for us to beat Tualatin on their field,' said Tigard senior Alex White, who assisted on the first two Tiger goals of the match. 'I think they may have been getting kind of cocky. We came out and took it to them.'

With the win, Tigard, which came into the match tied with Tualatin for third place in the Pacific Conference standings, improved to 7-3-1 in league play with the victory, its fourth straight.

'It's great in a sense that it keeps our win streak alive,' said first-year Tigard coach Tracy Hasson. 'And it's great to win a rivalry game.'

Tualatin dropped to 6-4-1 in league play with the setback.

'It's just disappointing to have such a spirited game and to not show up,' Tualatin coach Eric McClellan said. 'We didn't play with any urgency. Give Tigard credit. They executed and we didn't respond.'

The fired-up Tigers wasted little time in grabbing the lead in Tuesday's match.

Just 3 minutes and 9 seconds had passed when Tigard sophomore forward Alan Hernandez took a pass from White and, from 15 yards out, on the right side of the field, he blasted the ball inside the left post of the Timberwolf goal, giving Tigard a quick 1-0 lead.

'We came out and played hard right from the start,' White said. 'We wanted this a lot.'

With 22:22 left in the first half, the Tigers, and Hernandez, struck again.

Hernandez, again taking a pass from White, from nearly the same spot as his previous goal, again rifled a shot inside the left post to give the Tigers a 2-0 advantage.

'Same place, same shot. That felt really good. I'm not used to scoring,' said Hernandez, who added that, while he plays at a forward spot for the Tigers, he plays on defense for his club team. 'We really wanted to start hard. We were really fired-up.'

The Tigers upped their early lead to 3-0 when, with 16:15 left in the first half, senior Drew Nyberg scored on a low, line-drive shot from 30 yards out, with the ball sailing inside the right post of the Tualatin goal.

'We came out of the gates strong,' Hasson said. 'I think our guys had something to prove, and we were able to put our chances away.'

'It was helpful, but it also scared me,' White said of Tigard's early lead. 'It's hard to keep playing with that intensity.'

Tualatin had a chance to gain some first half momentum after it was awarded a penalty kick when Timberwolf senior Domenico Del Prete was fouled in the penalty box with 14:52 left in the first half.

But Amaya, diving to his right, blocked Ryan Hyatt's ensuing penalty kick, preserving Tigard's 3-0 lead.

'I was fired up. I was pretty excited,' Amaya said of the save. 'I really wanted to block that.'

Amaya also made the save on a flick header shot by Tualatin senior Naoki Minato just over a minute later.

Tigard tried to add onto its lead in the closing minutes of the first half.

Nyberg had a header shot that hit the top of the crossbar and go over with 9:09 left in the half.

Then, with 5:14 remaining before halftime, Tigard sophomore Sean McManamon had a shot on goal from 30 yards away which was saved.

The Timberwolves, getting shots on goal from Del Prete and sophomore Luis Martinez, tried to battle back in the second half.

With 12:20 left to play, Martinez came close to scoring on a header shot from 10 yards out. But Amaya, leaping up, slapped the ball over the crossbar.

But, shortly after, the Wolves wouldn't be denied.

In a play starting with the ensuing corner kick, Martinez hit another header shot.

It was blocked by Amaya back to Martinez, who again hit a header attempt, which hit the crossbar and bounded back. However, Tualatin sophomore Saif Al Rikabi converted a close-range follow-up shot to cut the Tigard lead to 3-1 with 11:46 left in the match.

But the Wolves couldn't get any closer, as Tigard closed out the 3-1 victory.

'It was a good win, especially since we lost to them last time,' Hernandez said. 'We played a real good first half.'

'It was tough. They really wanted it, too,' White said. 'But this was a lot of fun.'

'To Tualatin's credit, they kept playing hard,' Hasson said. 'This showed us that we can't stop playing.'

Both teams will be back in action tonight (Thursday). Tigard will be home to face league-leading McMinnville and Tualatin will host Glencoe in matches starting at 7 p.m.

On Monday, Tigard plays at Newberg and Tualatin travels to Forest Grove.

Both teams will finish their regular-season schedules on Wednesday.

Tigard will play at Hillsboro at 4 p.m. and Tualatin will be home to face Century at 7 p.m.