Woodburn returns to semifinals
Bulldogs score four times in second half against Putnam in bid for fourth straight state title run
In just 40 minutes of time Saturday night, the Woodburn boys soccer team proved once again why the Bulldogs are a favorite to repeat as the 5A state champions for the fourth year in a row.
No. 1 Woodburn scored four times in the second half of Saturdays quarterfinal game against the visiting Putnam Kingsmen en route to a 5-1 victory that puts the team into the state semifinals against the No. 4 Hood River Valley Eagles.
The Bulldogs entered the second half knotted at 1-1, but it took just three minutes for the team to take the lead for good when sophomore Eric Diaz scored from the left corner of the box to lift the team to 2-1.
Four minutes later, senior Andrew Almanzar received a pass deep in Putnam territory with no defenders to impede his way.
Almanzar dribbled to within five yards of the goal and deftly kicked it by the Kingsman goalkeeper in the left side of the net to put the Bulldogs up 3-1.
The team continued to put the pressure on Putnam throughout the second half. The Kingsmen had few opportunities to score and were limited to just a handful of shots due to Woodburns constant pressure throughout the game.
With seven minutes remaining in the contest, senior Jesse Martin – who had spent much of the game setting up his fellow teammates – scored his second goal of the playoffs to put the game away for good. David Samano scored the final goal for Woodburn with six seconds remaining in the contest.
The victory was the most thorough half of soccer played by the Bulldogs since the team outscored Crescent Valley 5-1 in the second half of a league game on Oct. 22.
The second half of the game against Putnam was in stark contrast to the first 40 minutes. After freshman Anthony Santillan scored the teams initial goal three minutes into the game, Woodburn was unable to capitalize on several scoring opportunities. Although the Bulldogs were able to control the ball for most of the contest, Putnam took advantage of a rare defensive lapse by Woodburn late in the half on a corner kick that sent both teams into the half tied at 1-1.
The Bulldogs entered the game on the heels of a 3-0 victory over the Sherwood Bowmen on Nov. 5 in the first round of the playoffs. Martin, Almanzar and Arturo Hernandez each scored to give Woodburn the win.
The Bulldogs next opponent was scheduled for Tuesday against Hood River Valley (15-1-1, 6-0 Columbia River). The Eagles defeated Parkrose 7-1 and Cleveland 4-0 to advance to the semifinal match.
Woodburn and Hood River Valley shared two common opponents over the course of the season in Putnam and West Albany.
Woodburn outscored the two opponents 9-1 in a pair of victories, while the Eagles beat both teams by a combined margin of 8-2.
The winner of Tuesdays game will advance to Saturdays 5A state championship game against either No. 2 Summit or No. 3 Wilsonville.