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Wolves crush Crater to earn state bid

Boys soccer: Tualatin will play at South Medford Friday to open Class 6A playoffs
by: DAN BROOD USING HIS HEAD – Tualatin junior Jonny Thayer gets his head on the ball during the Wolves’ play-in match with Crater. Tualatin scored a 10-0 victory.

TUALATIN - The Tualatin High School boys soccer team knew it had to win to keep its season alive.

But the Timberwolves wanted to also accomplish a few other things.

They wanted to boost their confidence, they wanted to work on a few things and they wanted to get some of their younger players some game experience.

Well, Tualatin sure seemed to accomplish all of those things.

The Timberwolves earned a spot in the Class 6A state playoffs by scoring a 10-0 win over Crater in a Class 6A play-in game contested Tuesday at Tualatin High School.

'It was good,' said Tualatin senior Domenico Del Prete, who had four goals and one assist in the victory. 'They weren't that good, but this was a confidence booster. We got to play around out there and prepare for the next game. It also let guys who haven't played that much get in there and get experience.'

Crater, the No. 5 team out of the Southern Oregon Conference, finished its season with a final overall record of 0-14.

Tualatin, the No. 4 team out of the Pacific Conference, improved to 7-5-3 on the season with the win. The Timberwolves also advance to play in the Class 6A state playoffs. Tualatin will play at South Medford Friday in a state playoff first-round match starting at 4 p.m. at Speiglberg Stadium.

'We have confidence, but are we confident?' Tualatin coach Eric McClellan said. 'Hopefully, we'll bring it (Friday).'

'We're getting ready for that one,' Del Prete said.

'We'll need to finish our chances,' Tualatin sophomore Damien Cortez-Garcia added.

That didn't seem to be any problem in Tuesday's play-in match with Crater.

The Wolves took a 1-0 lead just 4 minutes and 37 seconds into the contest when senior Cory Brown scored on a shot from 15 yards away off a cross from Del Prete.

Del Prete then scored his first goal, coming on an open shot from 10 yards away off an assist from sophomore Jake Gellos, giving Tualatin a 2-0 lead with 30:46 left in the first half.

Less than a minute later, Del Prete, after stealing the ball from a Crater defender, drove 30 yards and fired a shot into the Comet goal from 10 yards away to make the score 3-0.

Cortez-Garcia then scored a driving goal from 17 yards out to push the lead to 4-0 with 27:21 still remaining in the first half.

Less than a minute after that, Del Prete notched his third goal, coming off an assist from junior Jonny Thayer, to push the margin to 5-0.

Tualatin senior Matias Silvestre upped the lead to 6-0 when he scored on a follow-up shot, after an attempt by Brown was blocked, with 22:51 remaining in the first half.

Silvestre scored again, this time on a shot from 10 yards out following a pass from sophomore Madiba Sutton, to make the score 7-0 with 18:39 remaining in the first half.

Tualatin sophomore Luis Martinez added a goal with 5:20 left before halftime, upping the margin to 8-0.

A goal with 1:55 left in the first half upped the Tualatin lead to 9-0, which the Wolves carried to the halftime break.

In the second half, Tualatin tried not to take any shots, but the Wolves still upped their lead to 10-0 when a cross by Del Prete from the right side bent inside the left post of the Crater goal with 30:44 left in the contest.

'It was good,' McClellan said of the win. 'For us, it was nice to have a game like this to get some confidence. We had fun, scored some goals and our young guys got some action. It's the playoffs. Lose and you go home. We were able to take care of business.'

South Medford, the Southern Oregon Conference champion, brings an overall record of 10-1-3 into Saturday's state playoff first-round match.

The winner of Friday's playoff match in Medford will advance to play Gresham or McMinnville in a state playoff second-round match on Tuesday.