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Viks struggle with injuries, illness

Boys soccer is six points down in league play after strong preseason showing


by: CHASE ALLGOOD - Forest Grove defender Ben Acord clears the ball away from the Viking's goal in Forest Grove's first loss of the season.The Forest Grove boys soccer team was dominant through the preseason. The Vikings compiled a 7-0 record including several extremely convincing victories.

The Forest Grove offense constantly threatened to put the ball into the back of the net and the defense was nearly bulletproof.

Through the seven preseason matches, the Vikings outscored opponents 28-6.

The results were not surprising for coach Angelo Simonetti. “The first part of the season we played really well and that’s not surprising because we had a lot of the same kids as last year,” Simonetti says. “We had talented players on our squad this year. It didn’t surprise me. It was a continued progression and improving process. Last year we had a really competitive team. We just had bad luck.”

When Forest Grove got into conference play last week, their bad luck returned. Simonetti says that in the Vikings 5-2 loss to Tualatin and 7-2 loss against McMinnville, his team had to fight through numerous injuries and a cold virus. “We lost because of our health,” Simonetti says. “Three quarters of my players were sick and injured the last two weeks. There was a cold virus in the school that put down three of my four players in the midfield. I had three players with hamstring problems, I have two players with ankle problems. “I lost because my players aren’t healthy. That’s the only explanation. We have the same guys, the same technique. But, we don’t have the energy or the physical fitness to compete in the games. That’s why we lost. If you take a look, we only allowed teams to score six goals (in the preseason). In the two (league) games they scored 12 goals. It is physically impossible to play sick. They tried their best. Unfortunately (wins) didn’t happen.”

The injuries and sickness have been especially difficult for the Vikings to overcome because while their first unit is talented, they are not very deep. “We don’t have that many players on the roster who we can sub and not lose the same level,” Simonetti says.

Simonetti says that his players are starting to get healthier. But, he understands that in a grueling sport like soccer, it takes athletes a long time to return to full fitness. “We’re getting healthier,” Simonetti says. “But, when you lose a key, important player, it’s going to take two or three weeks to recover and come back.”

While the Vikings have had awful luck with their health, Simonetti remains happy with the quality of his team. “You have to remember, we’re still 7-2,” Simonetti says. “We still have won more games than we’ve lost. Of course, it’s not the result we want for the league. We lost six points. But, we’re going to be OK.”

Simonetti says that at this point of the season the Vikings still believe that they can reach the playoffs. “Everything is possible,” Simonetti says. “The most logical position right now is that we will find a spot in the playoffs.” If Forest Grove is able to rally back and make it into the playoffs, Simonetti says that they have a shot at making a run at the state championship. “I’ve seen people get into the playoffs in really low position and become state champion,” Simonetti says.

For now, the Vikings will have to concentrate on getting healthy and playing well enough to reach the playoffs.

As for whether or not they are able to make a run at the league championship, Simonetti realizes that his team will have a tough challenge ahead of them. Once again, though, he points out that anything is possible. “I predict that the first team that gets 18 points is going to be league champion,” Simonetti says. “Hillsboro and McMinnville have six points already and we have zero. But, anything is possible. We’re in a really difficult position right now. To be really honest, it would be hard to win the (league) championship right now. We’re already six points behind. But, nothing is impossible. We just need to try our best.”

Part of what will make winning the Pacific Conference title so challenging is that Forest Grove only plays each school once. Still, if some of the Vikings' bad luck reaches the other schools, Simonetti believes that Forest Grove might have a chance. Says Simonetti: “The sickness that’s been going through my school for the last month, maybe it can move to a different school and if somebody got sick we could win.”




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  • 25 Dec 2014

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