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Kingsmen continue at the top of their game in 5A boys soccer


Putnam shuts out Marist in Saturdays play-in round

The Rex Putnam Kingsmen took care of business in Saturday’s Class 5A boys soccer state play-in game with Marist, dominating play en route to a 2-0 shutout over the Spartans. It was the first time Marist had been shut out since a 1-0 loss to Class 6A south Eugene on Sept. 26.

“We dominated, we had 80 percent of the possession and we were at their end most of the game,” said Putnam coach Mitch Wing. “We passed the ball around really well.”

Wing had his Kingsmen with a 17-4 advantage in shots on-frame.

Still it wasn’t until 15 minutes into the second half that Putnam put a ball in the net.

“We just couldn’t put them in,” Wing said. “We had shots a little wide and over the top, and their keeper made a couple of nice saves....”

Putnam junior Elliot Bixby broke the ice. Luis Perez sent a corner kick to the near post, where Alexis Sanchez popped it up with his head. Bixby chested the ball to the ground and walked it into the net.

Perez scored an insurance tally on a shot from 35 yards out with 10 minutes to play, following a foul.

“Ian Kay was back in-goal, and he did a good job, although he wasn’t very busy,” Wing said. “Our defense was pretty smothering.”

The win advanced the Northwest Oregon Conference champion Kingsmen (10-5-0, 6-1-0) to a Nov. 6 first round state playoff game at fourth-ranked Hood River (8-4-1). The Kingsmen lost to Hood River 4-1 in their first game of the 2012 season.

“We hope to repeat last year,” Wing said. “Last year we lost to Hood River in our first game and came back and beat them in the playoffs....”

Should the Kingsmen get by the Eagles, they’ll meet the winner of a playoff game between fifth-ranked Wilsonville (6-4-4) and 15th-ranked Ashland (8-6-0) in this Saturday’s quarterfinals.

“These kids have accomplished everything they’ve set out to do except win a state championship,” Wing said. “We like where we’re at. We’re likely to play our next two games on the road, and we play well on the road. When we play well, we believe we can beat any team in the state....”

Victory did not come easily for Rex Putnam’s boys soccer team on Oct. 30, as the Kingsmen eked out a 2-1 win over St. Helens in their final game of the NWOC season. But it was nothing new.

The Kingsmen won close games all through the conference season, and with the win over the Lions they finished all alone in first place in the NWOC for the second year in a row.

They went 6-1-0 in league, with five of the six wins either in overtime, or by a one-goal margin of victory.

Against St. Helens, the Kingsmen scored their game-winner 17 minutes into the second half, after battling to a 1-1 standoff in the first half.

“We controlled the game 80-20 and we passed beautifully,” Wing said. “We controlled most of the game. We just weren’t putting the ball in the net.”

Hero honors went to Denmark exchange student Martin Schmidt, sophomore midfielder Oscar Gutierrez and to sophomore goalkeeper Jesse Martinez.

Gutierrez scored the game-winner, receiving the ball from around 18 yards out on a cross from Schmidt, and blasting it home.

Putnam’s normal goalkeeper, senior Ian Kay, had a bicycle accident that required 40 stitches to a leg the day of the game. Martinez moved up from the jayvee and, in his first-ever varsity action, made six saves to help the Kingsmen bag the victory.

“Jesse did an unbelievable job,” Wing said. “He’d never played varsity before and he was a bundle of nerves, but he played great!”

Senior forward Jose Rivera scored the Kingsmen’s first goal, settling the ball on a 40-yard pass from Jacob Wood and hammering it home 12 minutes before the halftime break. St. Helens answered two minutes before halftime.

Wing praised Matt Baker, Jacob Wood, Luis Perez and Greg Elkins for taking some of the pressure off of Martinez through solid play at the defensive end.

Wing also commended Gutierrez for sparking the Kingsmen with his inspired play off the bench in the second half, and Bixby for his poised play in the midfield.

The NWOC is well represented in the Class 5A boys soccer playoffs, with five of the league’s eight teams advancing to the round of 16 — Putnam, Liberty, Sherwood, Wilsonville and Sandy.

Milwaukie Mustangs

bow out at Hermiston

The Milwaukie Mustangs (5-7-2, 3-4-0) had their season come to an end on Saturday, when they lost to 11th-ranked Hermiston 5-0 in a Class 5A play-in game at Hermiston. The score was 1-0 at halftime.

Hermiston improved its season record to 11-1-2 with the victory.

Milwaukie coach Roberto Aguilar commended his players for the progress they made this season:

“I’m very proud of the boys. We earned 500 percent more victories then last year, played several top 10 teams to one-goal games, and really brought our program back to a competitive level.

“Graduating 11 seniors and nine starters will make it a challenge for next year. But we do have an army of youngsters....

“Returning varsity players who will have an impact are juniors Edgar Pantoja and Randal Sam, sophomore Alex Cacho-Barrera and freshman Jake Cates.”