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College soccer: Canby alumnus Eddie Sanchez among nation's scoring leaders in stellar freshman year with Portland Pilots
He had tallied 12 goals through his first 16 games, notching the program's first hat trick in a decade.
Eddie Sanchez hasnt just been the best scorer on his team, the most prolific offensive weapon in his conference or the top point man in his state.
As a freshman on the University of Portland mens soccer team, he has been one of the most productive statistical players in the entire nation.
As of Nov. 11, the decorated Canby High alumnus was ranked fifth in all of Division I with 0.75 goals per game. He led the country in points per game towards the end of last month.
Sanchez had 12 goals and three assists through 16 games played with the Pilots, putting him at fifth in goals per game in the nation behind Gardner-Webb junior Denzel Clarke, Loyola Maryland sophomore Larry Ndjock, Robert Morris sophomore Neco Brett and Maryland senior Patrick Mullins.
This season has been fun so far, Sanchez said. Its great being able to come to a team and be able to make a difference. But overall, its been great being with these guys, playing together. On and off the field, it has been a great experience.
Not surprisingly, the accolades are piling up for the 5-foot-9 attacking midfielder.
With seven goals in the month of October, Sanchez was named Portlands student-athlete of the month.
After notching the first hat trick of his collegiate career Oct. 20 in the Pilots 4-1 win at Santa Clara, Sanchez was named the West Coast Conference player of the week. He became the first UP player to log a hat trick since 2003.
Sanchez, who was an all-state honoree and league co-player of the year as a senior at Canby, made an immediate impact with UP.
Coming in as a freshman, you just try to come in and make a difference off the bench, he said. I was fortunate to be able to work as hard as I did during preseason and got a starting position.
The level is so high throughout the whole team that you have to work hard every week. The team was a huge part of how quickly I could contribute because they treated me as a family member. We all push one another so we get our full potential, and that was key for me. The team overall did a good job motivating me and making sure I had fun out on the field.
Sanchez scored the first goal of his collegiate career on an assist from freshman teammate Aaron Caprio in Portlands third game, a 4-1 loss to Washington on the road Sept. 6.
Sanchez notched another goal in the first half of the Pilots next game, a 4-0 shutout of Air Force at home a week later, and also scored from about 20 yards out in his teams 3-0 blanking of Oregon State.
Sanchez was the hero for UP (8-10, 3-7 in the WCC) in a 3-2 triumph at San Francisco, scoring the game-winning goal in the 83rd minute. He also put away decisive goals in matches against San Diego and Santa Clara.
I am very happy for Eddie and his family, former Canby coach Mark Madeira said. He has put together a very successful freshman campaign and, to be honest, I cant say I am surprised. Eddie is a special talent. When you couple his exceptional athleticism, tremendous training habits and his drive to succeed, you get a great finished product. And that is Eddie Sanchez. However, as good of a soccer player as he is on the field, he is an even better man off the field truly an amazing person.
Sanchez and the Pilots will conclude their league slate with homes games at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 against Saint Marys and 1 p.m. Nov. 17 against San Francisco. For more information, visit www.portlandpilots.com.