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Tualatin steps up in playoff opener

The Wolves, after beating Centennial, fall to South Eugene


by: DAN BROOD - GOOD JOB -- Tualatin senior Jonathan Thayer (4) is congratulated by junior Luis Martinez following the first of his two goals in the state playoff win over Centennial.TUALATIN — After a scoreless first half in its state playoff opener, the Tualatin High School boys soccer team knew exactly what it had to do.

Turn up the energy.

And the Timberwolves, riding their wave of energy, scored three second-half goals on their way to posting a 3-1 win over Centennial in a Class 6A state playoff first-round match played Friday at Tualatin High School.

“We didn’t play that well in the first half,” said Tualatin senior midfielder Jonathan Thayer, who scored a pair of goals in the win. “We came out with a lot of energy in the second half. The whole team had a lot of energy and everyone contributed.”

“We weren’t playing together in the first half,” Tualatin junior forward Luis Martinez said. “We knew we just needed to do what we do. We were a little jittery, so this was good.”

With the loss, Centennial, the No. 3 team out of the Mt. Hood Conference, finished its season with a final overall record of 3-7-5.by: DAN BROOD - HEAD GAMES -- Tualatin junior David Bello (23) heads the ball away from Centennial juniopr Austin Feltner.

Tualatin, the Pacific Conference co-champion, improved to 10-2-3 on the season with the victory. The Timberwolves also advanced to play South Eugene in a second-round state playoff match. Tualatin was edged 3-1 in overtime by South Eugene in Tuesday’s second-round match at Tualatin, ending the Wolves’ season.

In Friday’s first-round state playoff match, both teams seemed to struggle on offense.

Tualatin did have a couple opportunities in the first 40 minutes. Timberwolf junior Graham Fletcher had a header shot from 10 yards away, off a throw-in from junior Jake Gellos, sail just wide left of the Centennial goal and Tualatin junior Ryan Hyatt had a free kick attempt batted away.

Meanwhile, the Tualatin defense, featuring Fletcher, Hyatt and junior Madiba Sutton, among others, kept the Eagles from threatening in the first half. Tualatin junior goalkeeper Sebastian Del Prete made a pair of key plays in the first half to keep the shutout intact.

The Timberwolves, playing with high energy after halftime, took control early in the second half.

Thayer, after taking a pass from senior Trevor Moore, scored on a shot from eight yards away on the left side of the field. His shot got past diving Centennial goalie Jon Ronnfeldt and bounded into the right side of the Eagle goal to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead with 31 minutes and 51 seconds left to play in the match.

Tualatin, after having close calls on shots by Hyatt and Thayer, struck again. With 15:42 left in the match, Tualatin senior Saif Al Rikabi, after beating Centennial senior Adan Carillo to the ball, scored on a breakaway shot from 10 yards out to give the Wolves a 2-0 lead.

The Eagles came fighting back. Centennial trimmed the margin to 2-1 when junior Josue Robledo hit a bending shot from 25 yards out into the upper right corner of the Tualatin goal with 13:16 left in the match. But Tualatin didn’t let Centennial get any closer.

Thayer scored again with 53 seconds left to play with a bending shot from 30 yards away to cap off Tualatin’s 3-1 victory.

“Once we start scoring, it’s like a chain reaction,” Martinez said.

In Tuesday’s second-round match with South Eugene, Tualatin took a 1-0 lead on a free-kick goal by Hyatt coming with just two seconds left in the first half.

The Axemen came back to tie the match at 1-1 on a goal by Erasmo Salgado coming with 23:35 left to play in the second half. Neither team was able to score in regulation play, sending the contest to overtime.

South Eugene took a 2-1 lead on a goal by junior Alec Madrigal coming with 2:57 left to play in the first of two 10-minute overtime sessions. The Axemen also got a goal from Ricardo Gomez with 2:25 remaining in the second overtime session to wrap up win.

The playoff loss marked the final high school match for Tualatin seniors Alex Ponce, Audel Rumbo, Thayer, Al Rikabi, Jasen Armillas, Rigo Rodriguez, Moore and Jorge Figueroa.



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