By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– With the recently development after last week with Gervais’ forfeit and their win over Yamhill-Carlton, the Western Christian/Perrydale Boys Soccer team held the number one spot in the 3A/2A/1A Speical District 2 standings.
Right behind them in the standings, coming down the 221 Highway though was Dayton, who’s lone loss was to the Cougars to start the season and the Pirates haven’t lost since then going 5-0-3 in their last eight games.
Dayton, eager to keep pace with the Pioneers, jumped out to a 1-0 lead entering the halftime break thanks to a goal by Lukas Findley during the first half.
“It felt good. It felt great just to get one-step ahead of them so we didn’t have to worry, come down to the end of the game and we won’t have to worry about get that one goal super fast,” said Findley. “So it was good to set the tempo of the game, it was really nice.”
Throughout the second half from the midfield, there was that occasional reminder to pick up the intensity as Findley, Tyler Spink and company tried to get an insurance goal in against Western Christian/Perrydale’s defense whenever they let off the gas-pedal.
“Our intensity fuels us, keeps us going. Even when we don’t have intensity, it still fuels us, it keeps us going,” said Findley.
But, they were matched up against a tough Pioneer defense that tends to clamp down during a game with their defense permitting 10 goals all season that included that one that got by sophomore Rylan Webster.
Findley drove down and shot. Saved by Webster, it dribbled back to Findley after Webster push-pressed it out and shot again. Somehow Webster pops up and catches the shot for another save as the Sophomore kept the 1v1 shots to that.
Western Christian’s backline of Sampson Hess, Brayden Hopper and Alex Nicoli were tested often during the game, but did whatever they could to get the ball back down the field for their offense to work.
“We did pretty well, I mean some of them we could have got to. But we out-hustle them, got to balls first,” said Hopper on the defense as the final 20 minutes rolled around.
During those final 20, the Pioneers looked like as they did versus Gervais last week and the Tigers by fighting for the ball with the physicality that Dayton threw their way. Keaton Hull had three cracks at the goal with two headers and a ball on the ground inside the box that were saved by the Pirates Mike Duarte to keep the shutout in tack.
The Pios had one more shot at goal in the closing moments of the game that when Luke Williams had a free kick from the top of the box, but that too was stopped as Duarte and his defense helped preserve the 1-0 win to keep pace with Western Christian/Perrydale.
It was frustrating to say the least as the work that the Pioneer (6-3-1, 6-2-1 3A/2A/1A Special District 2) defense put in couldn’t produced a tying shot, but it’s something for them to flush with them traveling to Salem Academy Friday afternoon.
“It was really frustrating especially for our backline because we did so well trying to keep them out of the game and that one goal…it was frustrating,” said Hopper. “We just need to look passed this game easily, it’s just a loss. One loss that we had in league, so we just play on, learn from it.”
Dayton (5-1-3, 5-1-3) will travel to Delphian Friday afternoon to play the Dragons.