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Wolves rally, but fall just short


Tualatin, after coming back strong, falls 3-2 to Hilhi

by: DAN BROOD - TURNING IT ON -- Tualatin senior Jonathan Thayer (left) looks to sprint past Hillsboro junior Aaron Barber-Axhelm in last week's match. The Wolves rallied from a 2-0 defecit to tie the match before falling 3-2. HILLSBORO — The Tualatin High School boys soccer team put forth what looked to be a big effort to battle its way back into a tie.

But, unfortunately for the Timberwolves, they couldn’t do that twice.

Tualatin rallied from a 2-0 second-half deficit to tie Hillsboro only to see the Spartans get a late penalty-kick goal to get a 3-2 victory in a Pacific Conference match played last Thursday at Hillsboro High School.

“We started slow in the first half,” Tualatin junior defender Ryan Hyatt said after the match. “But we came out and battled hard in the second half and got some goals.”

With the win, Hillsboro improved to 2-0 in league play and to 6-2-1 on the season to that point. Tualatin moved to 1-1 in Pacific Conference matches and to 4-2-3 on the season.

“We have to learn not to wait until we get behind before we pick things up,” Tualatin coach Jimmy Velasco said. “I don’t know why we have to wait. But, they’re kids and, as long as we keep getting better, it’s going to be OK.”

The Wolves, while not being able to score, had some strong moments in the early part of last week’s match. Hyatt had a free kick attempt from 25 yards out blocked on a dive by Spartan senior goalie Jose Landeros. Tualatin senior Jonathan Thayer’s follow-up shot was saved by Londeros.

Near the midway point of the first half, Tualatin junior goalkeeper Sebastian Del Prete sprinted out to block what looked to be a wide-open shot by Hillsboro’s Miguel Tena.

But, with 16 minutes and 7 seconds remaining in the half, Tualatin was whistled for a foul in the penalty box. Hillsboro junior Tyler Hoiem converted the ensuing penalty kick, putting his shot into the right side of the Tualatin goal to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead.

The Wolves tried to battle back in the last 10 minutes of the half.

With 9:49 remaining in the half, Tualatin sophomore Sam Kirby hit a hard shot from 11 yards out that was slapped away by Landeros. Three minutes later, Tualatin senior forward Saif Al Rikabi hit a close range header, off a cross by junior Luis Martinez, with the ball skimming off the top of the crossbar and going out of bounds over the end line.

Then, with 1:46 left in the half, Laneros ran out to block an open shot by Al Rikabi.

While the late flurry of shots may have given the Timberwolves momentum going into the intermission, Hillsboro seemed to regain momentum in the second half — in a big way.

Senior Luis Velasquez gave the Spartans a 2-0 lead when he scored on a flick kick from eight yards out, coming with 28:43 remaining in the match.

The Wolves, instead of putting their heads down, seemed to get fired up after the goal. And they didn’t waste much time at all getting back into the match.

With 23:29 remaining, Martinez stole the ball from a Hillsboro defender and drove for a breakaway attempt, putting his shot into the right side of the Spartan goal from 10 yards away to cut the lead to 2-1.

Just over two minutes later, Tualatin was at it again. The Spartans were whistled for a foul in the penalty box on a corner kick by Thayer, resulting in a penalty kick for the Wolves. Al Rikabi buried the penalty kick into the net on the right side of the goal to tie the match at 2-2 with 21:11 left to play.

Tualatin seemed to control the action in the minutes following the tying goal, getting shots at the Hillsboro goal from Thayer and senior Trevor Moore, but the Wolves weren’t able to capitalize on those opportunities, leaving the teams deadlocked heading into the final 10 minutes.

With 7:45 left to play, Hoiem seemed to trip himself up as he drove with the ball toward the Timberwolf goal, but Tualatin was called for a foul in the penalty box on the play.

“That one wasn’t a foul,” Hyatt said. “But what can you do?”

Hoiem converted the penalty kick, putting his shot just barely out of the reach of Del Prete, who dove straight out to his left on the shot.

“It was a great effort by Sebastian,” Hyatt said.

The Wolves tried to battle back again in the final minutes, but they couldn’t get the equalizer, leaving Hillsboro with the 3-2 win.

“We’ll take the mistakes we made and learn from them,” Hyatt said. “On defense, we need to be more organized and, on offense, we need to attack better.”

Still, the Timberwolves look to still be in the hunt for what looks to be a competitive hunt for the top spot in the Pacific Conference standings.

“I think it’s going to come down to who ever wants it the most,” Velasco said.

Tualatin bounced back from the loss at Hillsboro to post a 1-0 win over Newberg in a league match played Tuesday at Tualatin High School.