Tigers hit the ground running in first two games
6A boys soccer Newberg blasts Madison 4-1 and plays West Linn to a scoreless draw to open the 2013 campaign on a high note
Fully acclimated to second-year head coach M.J. Tates possession-style attack, Newberg appeared to be in midseason form to open the season last week, overwhelming Madison 4-1 and earning a 0-0 draw at West Linn.
In fact, the Tigers may not have played as well offensively in any game last season as they did in dismantling the Senators in the season opener Sept. 10 at Loran Douglas Field.
Playing as the lone striker in a 4-3-3 formation, sophomore Getaneh Kudna proved to be a thorn in the side of the Madison defense all night and helped Newberg draw first blood by drawing a penalty just two minutes into the game.
Senior Brandon Cortez, who dropped back from his normal spot up top to play in midfield for this game, stepped up and coolly buried the penalty kick and the Tigers were off to the races.
After dominating possession and setting up camp in the Senators half of the field for the next ten minutes, Cortez rose to meet Paul Sweets corner kick about 10 feet out from goal and redirected the ball back across the goal and into the right corner with the side of his head just under 12 minutes into the half.
Newberg continued to create numerous scoring chances and registered a trio of near misses before senior right back Jonathan Bos connected in the 24th minute on a low and hard shot from the top of the penalty box to make it 3-0.
Were so much more confident, senior defender Stefan Vincent said. A big thing thats changed from last year is how many more chances we have. Last year, we didnt get that many chances and we didnt capitalize on them. We had to work so much harder for the opportunity and now we constantly get shots on goal, which is great.
Madison took advantage of a miscue late in the half by goalie Ryan Vincent, who got a little too cute trying shepherd a loose ball into his penalty area so he could pick it up and instead was dispossessed, leaving an empty net that a Senators forward easily found to make it 3-1 at the half.
It took just more than five minutes in the second half for the Tigers to muster a response, as junior winger Tanner Johnson sent a pass that slid by two Newberg players on its way across the goal mouth before it was slammed into the top of the net from about six yards out by left winger Habtamu Kudna.
Tate was impressed by the play of several players, including Habtamu Kudna, Trent Muller and Oscar Ramirez, who were making their varsity debuts.
The young guys have bedded in well, Tate said. I was surprised. I thought they would be much more nervous.
Playing a bit more conservatively on the road against a better opponent, the Tigers werent able to break through for a goal, but were solid defensively in playing West Linn to a scoreless draw on Sept. 12.
You can tell that back four is just solid as a rock, Tate said. Having four seniors helps, but it was just beautiful seeing the outside backs flying down the wings.
After hosting Jefferson on Tuesday (results unavailable at press time), Newberg will test itself against defending 6A state champion Lincoln at 7 p.m. Thursday at Loran Douglas Field.