NHS soccer teams ready for league play
Soccer The boys team has allowed just three goals in six games, while the girls boast a quick-strike offense led by forward Megan Myers
Both M.J. Tate and Jon Halstead had reason to be optimistic as their teams opened Pacific Conference play this week.
The Newberg boys soccer team has impressed their second-year head coach with their solid defensive play, while Halsteads girls have demonstrated an offensive prowess that should keep them in any league game this fall.
The boys were at the top of their game defensively in an emotional 1-0 win at Grant on Sept. 24, which they dedicated to assistant coach Jorge Rios-Nogales father, who recently passed away.
It was a heartfelt performance, Tate said. The boys played like Tigers.
Newberg needed to be sound at the back against the much bigger Generals, but played a great tactical game out of their 4-5-1 counterattacking formation, limiting Grant to just a pair of scoring opportunities all game the second coming on a corner kick in the final three minutes of the game.
On the other, goalie Ryan Vincent made a beautiful save going to his left to deny a well-placed free kick.
We were organized, Tate said. It was a perfect defensive performance. It was just wonderful to see.
The Tigers broke through with about 16 minutes remaining in the second half as Brandon Cortez deftly volleyed home a cross from right fullback Jonathan Bos.
It was just a beautiful goal, great technique, Tate said. We worked on it in practice, which is ironic, because he hit all of his shots over the bar.
The defense was rock solid again on Sept. 26, but the play between the midfield and forward lines was disjointed as Newberg settled for a 1-0 decision over a Wilson team if feels it should beat by several goals on most days.
This was one of the uglier games Ive been a part of, but a wins a win, Tate said. We werent getting those wins a year ago. We would lose those games. We played as a team tonight. We knew we had to play defensive soccer to find a way to win.
In the matchup between the Newberg and Wilson girls, the Tigers took the fight to the Trojans, as forward Megan Meyers needed just 43 seconds to open the scoring.
Cassie Grove doubled the lead just less than seven minutes later and Newberg cruised to a 5-2 victory. Myers and fellow forward Sam Russo each found the back of the net to put the Tigers up 4-1 at halftime, with Dallin Esmond scoring the fifth 18 minutes into the second half.
We played as a unit and did the things that are going to make us successful the rest of the season if we do them, Halstead said. We created a lot of chances for ourselves as a team and the score reflects those team goals.
Myers needed just 28 seconds to connect for a goal against Wilsonville on Sept. 26, but the Wildcats tied the game with 14 minutes to play in the second half and pulled out the win in the final minute with a rebound goal following a corner kick.
We played really well and built on (the Sept. 26) win, unfortunately we didnt come out on the right end of the score, Halstead said. We were faced with something we havent had to do yet this year, manage a close game.
Both Newberg teams took on McMinnville on Tuesday (results unavailable at press time) and will face Glencoe the girls at home, the boys on the road at 7 p.m. Thursday.