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Riverdale boys soccer wins schools first state title

The Mavericks knock off vaunted OES in a dramatic 2-1 game to claim the championship


The Riverdale boys soccer team poses with its trophy after claiming the first state championship in school historyThe Riverdale boys soccer team capped a truly remarkable season with fairy tale ending last Saturday at Liberty high School.

The Mavericks advanced to the state title game on Tuesday with a hard-earned 3-1 victory over Riverside and then knocked off state powerhouse OES 2-1 in the title game, avenging an earlier loss to the Aardvarks to claim the school's first ever state title in any sport.

“I knew this team was good, but I didn't know that we were going to go this far. The success must have come from all the hard work that this team has put in and the indefinable team chemistry. For a high school soccer team with just one club player, it is unbelievable to get this far,” coach Tendu Sherpa said.

Against OES, Riverdale made the most of its opportunities on offense and received some stellar play from goalie Joseph Spector.

The Mavericks set the tone of the game early, getting a goal just three minutes into the contest from Isaiah Elder.

The first half was fairly even with both teams mustering a few scoring chances.

OES would break through and knot the score with 13 minutes left in the first half which set up a thrilling final 40 minutes.

The Aardvarks played inspired soccer in the second half but Riverdale's defense held firm. OES upped its pressure offensively and peppered the Mavericks' goal, getting off nine shots in the second half.

However, Spector tallied five saves in the game to keep OES at bay.

Riverdale kept its composure and bided its time in the second half. Then, with just under 20 minutes to play in the game, Ben Field knocked a shot past the diving OES keeper as Riverdale regained the lead.

It would be Riverdale's only shot attempt of the second half.

From then on, it was just a matter of holding on and Spector saved perhaps his best stop for last, turning away a tough header in the final minute.

The victory gave Riverdale the championship as the Mavericks defeated a team that has won four state titles since 2005.

To advance to the finals, Riverdale got past a strong and unfamiliar Riverside team.

“We were just having fun since we've never made it this far but, at the same time, we knew that we just had to win one game at a time,” Sherpa said.

Once again, the Mavericks struck early, scoring 15 minutes into the game to seize momentum.

Field was a key figure for Riverdale again, notching two goals while defender Nathan Gruenberg added another.

Riverdale also knocked off Delphian in penalty kicks during its playoff run, which followed an opening round 6-0 rout of Umatilla.



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