Lincoln City
Saturday, April 17, 2021

Tigers worthy of ‘Big Four’ status among State’s Final Four representatives

Broadcast Coverage

While entering uncharted territory, few can argue whether the Taft High boys soccer team belongs in the Final Four of the 2019 Class 3A/2A/1A OSAA State Boys Soccer Championships.

However, historically speaking, the other three schools might be asking, “What are you doing here?”

Senior Player of the Year Edson Fuentes

On the surface, a better question might be, “How is Taft the underdog in this beauty pageant?”

With a gaudy 17-0 record and lofty scoring advantage of 117-9 this season, it’s statistically relevant to assume the upstart Tigers will feel right at home and belong in the fray when they take the pitch at 6 p.m. Tuesday at top-seeded Catlin Gabel to determine one State finalist. Second-seeded Oregon Episcopal will host No. 3 Brookings-Harbor at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Liberty High School in Hillsboro to unveil the other combatant for Saturday’s State championship.


Delve deeper, and it’s evident the Special District 2 champion Tigers’ No. 4 seeding is appropriate.


Tuesday’s semifinal opponent, Catlin Gabel, is the defending State champion and also undefeated at 17-0 after outscoring its opposition 104-5 and going 9-0 in winning the Special District 1 title.

To do that, the Eagles twice shut out State No. 2 seed and SD2 runner-up Oregon Episcopal in the regular season and 1-0 in last year’s State title game despite the Aardvarks’ rich history of having won six OSAA boys soccer titles beginning in 2005 — with a runner-up finish sandwiched in between.

Taft head coach Ryan Ulicni

The two Portland private boarding schools — Catlin Gabel in the West Haven-Sylvan area and Oregon Episcopal in Raleigh Hills — have each won two State titles since 2013 and reached the final game three and four times, respectively.

Despite being the only semifinalist with a defeat, Oregon Episcopal is 14-2-1 with the fewest goals scored (81) and most allowed (12) this season, but is seeded second on strength of schedule.

Photos by Lon French

On to third-seeded Brookings-Harbor . . .

A public school that combines student-athletes from the communities of Brookings and Harbor in southwestern Oregon, the Special District 4 champion Bruins are also 17-0 and waltzed through the season by outscoring their opposition 124-5.

Brookings-Harbor trailed only Special District 6 champion Riverside, another perennial power, in goals scored this season (134) and tied Catlin Gabel in goals-against (5). Oregon Episcopal eliminated 2017 State champion Riverside 3-2 in overtime in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

Sophomore goalie Sam Cortes

Making its deepest dive ever into the postseason, Taft faces a formidable challenge. Catlin Gabel has pitched 12 shutouts this year, including 6-0 and 9-0 victories to reach the State semis. The Tigers possess 10 shutouts of their own, however, and a 2-1 quarterfinal home victory over fifth-seeded and perennial State participant Riverdale, which handed Oregon Episcopal its regular-season tie.


With three unbeaten teams, a combined record of 65-2-1 and scoring margin of 426-31, there’s little question the stage has been set with this year’s four most worthy semifinalists.

The Final Four will undeniably be represented by the Big Four in small-school Oregon soccer.

Taft assistant coaches Daniel Haehl and Dayton Mays

Class 3A/2A/1A Boys Soccer

Special District 1

Catlin Gabel (3A)9-017-010451
Oregon Episcopal (3A)7-1-114-2-181122
Riverdale (3A)7-1-110-3-143175
De La Salle Catholic (3A)6-310-6602512
Portland Adventist (3A)3-4-26-7-2263629
Westside Christian (3A)3-64-10255739
Horizon Christian, Tualatin (3A)2-4-36-5-3424625
Mannahouse Christian (2A)2-5-24-8-2337134
Faith Bible (2A)1-7-12-10-1194341
Portland Christian (2A)0-90-15711651

Catlin Gabel Eagles

Coach: Peter Shulman

1Bowen Blair11
2Will Swan12
3Evan Williams10
4Noah Kim11
5Dylan Lian11
6Kai Gamboa11
7Justin Edwards11
8Mateo Sufuentes11
9Aidan Sheeran-Hahnel10
10Felipe Rueda10
11Elijah Widdows10
12Jed Whalen-Stewart11
13Adrian Long10
14Joshua Hamlett10
16Ezra Rich12
17Ezra Polesky12
18Spud Ward12
19Jaden Edwards11
20Ben Bockman11
21Evan Karp12
22Finn Russell12
23Tanner Hillison12
24Andrew Priest11
25Cai Fernandez-Powell11
27Seby Tremblay11


Oregon Episcopal Aardvarks

Coach: David Rosenberg

00Alden McVay11
0Alex Colleran10
1Patrick Ruoff10
2James Lawliss11
4Henry Giannini11
5Jonathan Segal10
6Will Phillips11
7Andre Stendahl12
8Mason Lee12
9Daniel Elleman12
10Alex Chen9
11Torben Karl10
12Matt Hannah12
13John Fitzhenry12
14Oliver Ulmer12
16Hugh Shanno12
17Kennedy Balandi12
18Maisam Moradi10
19Evan Hasson11
20Vivek Mittal-Henkle10
21Alex Ugas12
23Jonah Song12
24Connor Mansfield10

Special District 2

LeagueOverallGSGA Rank
Taft (3A)14-017-011794
Delphian (2A)9-3-210-6-2602116
Western Christian/Perrydale (2A)9-3-210-6-2612817
Yamhill-Carlton (3A)7-5-27-6-2432930
Blanchet Catholic (3A)5-5-46-6-4343131
Dayton (3A)3-113-12252245
Salem Academy (3A)2-11-12-11-11210949

Taft Tigers

Coach: Ryan Ulicni

00Sam CortesGK/GK10
0Riley EllisGK/M10
4Ivan CortezD/D11
5Jose FloresM/M11
7J.J. LupercioD/D10
8Kevin AcostaM/M11
9Sammy VasquezF/M10
10Edson FuentesF/F12
11William CalderonM/F11
16Joseph CruzM/M11
19Estib HernandezD/D12
21Alex Del ValleM/D11
22Angel IslasD/D10
23Adrian MorenoD/D10
29Diego GomezM/F9
33Mauricio RivasM/M11
50Kaden WrightM/M12
88Matias VesmaM/F12


Special District 4

Brookings-Harbor (3A)14-017-012453
Umpqua Valley Christian (1A)11-312-4782010
Sutherlin (3A)10-410-6533514
Coquille/Myrtle Point (2A)7-77-7254227
Glide (2A)5-8-15-8-1183735
Douglas (3A)3-8-33-8-3194140
South Umpqua (3A)2-11-12-11-1209046
Gold Beach/Pacific (2A)1-12-11-12-156950

Brookings-Harbor Bruins

Coach: Jess Beaman

0Juan HernandezGK/GK11
2Uriel CortesF/D9
3Diego TurnerF/M9
5Rylan BruceF/M11
6Miguel Ramos-RodriguezD/F10
7Aden CarpenterD/M11
8Josh SernaF/M9
9Bryan ValdovinosF/M10
10Fabian VillaM/F10
11Seth BrobergD/F10
12Dylan HodgeM/F10
13Jair ValdovinosF/M12
14Hobbes HowardD/M11
15Kallen ChristensenD/F9
16Harrison NelsonF/D12
17Jake BeamanD/M10
19Brayden HollerF/M12
20Kai SeibertF/M10
24Clayton SackettF/D12

Jim Fossum
Jim Fossumhttp://SilverandBlackToday.com
Homepage Executive Editor and former longtime Sports Editor of the near-200,000 circulation Las Vegas Review-Journal, Fossum brings 40 years of award-winning experience covering virtually every facet of print and digital journalism to Lincoln City Homepage. The former longtime reporter for the Newport News-Times and Lincoln City News Guard is also Editor-in-Chief and Senior Columnist for SilverandBlackToday.com, which covers the NFL's Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders.


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