But they stumble at Liberty, losing 3-0

It was an up and down week for Rex Putnam High School's boys soccer team last week.

The Kingsmen got shut out by 25th-ranked Liberty 3-0 on Thursday, after toppling then 17th-ranked Parkrose 2-1 earlier in the week.

Putnam (4-6-1, 2-1-1) entered play this week in fourth place in the Northwest Oregon Conference, trailing Wilsonville (3-0-1), Liberty (3-1-0) and Parkrose (3-1-0) in the NWOC standings. They had league games remaining with fourth-ranked Wilsonville, cross-town rival Milwaukie (3-7-0, 1-3-0) and winless St. Helens (0-10-0, 0-4-0).

When the Kingsmen beat Parkrose on Oct. 15, it was only the second time this season that the Broncs had been held to fewer than two goals. Parkrose had been averaging just under five goals. The Kingsmen win snapped a Parkrose win string at five games.

“Our guys had great ball control and all of our guys were taking shots,” said Putnam coach Mitch Wing. “We'd take the ball down the wings, pass it in and take a shot. It was a good game for us. We played 65 to 70 minutes of really good soccer.”

Hero honors went to junior forward Matt Ciobanasiu and to Putnam junior keeper Jesse Martinez.

Ciobanasiu scored both Kingsmen goals and Martinez made what Wing termed “a game-saving save” on a shot by Parkrose's star player, junior defender Gustavo Torres, taken at point-blank range.

Ciobanasiu found the net for the only goal of the first half, just eight minutes before halftime. Junior midfielder Oscar Gutierrez made a run down the right sideline, crossed the ball in, and Ciobanasiu volleyed it out of the air and into the back of the net.

Ciobanasiu made it 2-0 fourteen minutes into the second half. Senior playmaker Elliot Bixby sent the ball ahead to Ciobanasiu, who put it away from 17 yards out.

As the second half progressed, Parkrose moved its sweeper and most skilled player — Torres — forward. Torres found the net with eight minutes to play, and the Broncs pushed forward and launched several serious assaults down the stretch.

Martinez' game-saver came with 1-1/2 minutes remaining.

“Torres hit a point-blank shot from 10 yards out,” said Wing. “It was a rocket, with a huge amount of velocity, right at Jesse. Jesse somehow caught the ball and hung on. He got the win for us with that stop.”

Wing said of Torres, “He's the best player I've seen anywhere this year.”

Wing said that junior Kegan Makinster also played a major role in the Kingsmen win.

“I moved Kegan from stopper to the middle to help out Elliot and Tommy (Ciobanasiu) and he made a huge difference.”

Wing had his Kingsmen with more than 15 shots on-frame, while he said Martinez made nine saves.

Putnam played Liberty to a scoreless tie in the first half. But the Kingsmen lost Matt Ciobanasiu to an injury late in the first half, and that changed the complexion of the game.

“He's one of our main targets up front, and when Matt left the game, we struggled,” Wing said.

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