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Lincoln City
Wednesday, July 28, 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.

BOYS STATE SOCCER BRACKET

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

Consider:

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.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

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

League Overall GS GA Rank
Catlin Gabel (3A) 9-0 17-0 104 5 1
Oregon Episcopal (3A) 7-1-1 14-2-1 81 12 2
Riverdale (3A) 7-1-1 10-3-1 43 17 5
De La Salle Catholic (3A) 6-3 10-6 60 25 12
Portland Adventist (3A) 3-4-2 6-7-2 26 36 29
Westside Christian (3A) 3-6 4-10 25 57 39
Horizon Christian, Tualatin (3A) 2-4-3 6-5-3 42 46 25
Mannahouse Christian (2A) 2-5-2 4-8-2 33 71 34
Faith Bible (2A) 1-7-1 2-10-1 19 43 41
Portland Christian (2A) 0-9 0-15 7 116 51

Catlin Gabel Eagles

Coach: Peter Shulman

No. Name Grade
1 Bowen Blair 11
2 Will Swan 12
3 Evan Williams 10
4 Noah Kim 11
5 Dylan Lian 11
6 Kai Gamboa 11
7 Justin Edwards 11
8 Mateo Sufuentes 11
9 Aidan Sheeran-Hahnel 10
10 Felipe Rueda 10
11 Elijah Widdows 10
12 Jed Whalen-Stewart 11
13 Adrian Long 10
14 Joshua Hamlett 10
16 Ezra Rich 12
17 Ezra Polesky 12
18 Spud Ward 12
19 Jaden Edwards 11
20 Ben Bockman 11
21 Evan Karp 12
22 Finn Russell 12
23 Tanner Hillison 12
24 Andrew Priest 11
25 Cai Fernandez-Powell 11
27 Seby Tremblay 11

 

Oregon Episcopal Aardvarks

Coach: David Rosenberg

No. Name Grade
00 Alden McVay 11
0 Alex Colleran 10
1 Patrick Ruoff 10
2 James Lawliss 11
4 Henry Giannini 11
5 Jonathan Segal 10
6 Will Phillips 11
7 Andre Stendahl 12
8 Mason Lee 12
9 Daniel Elleman 12
10 Alex Chen 9
11 Torben Karl 10
12 Matt Hannah 12
13 John Fitzhenry 12
14 Oliver Ulmer 12
16 Hugh Shanno 12
17 Kennedy Balandi 12
18 Maisam Moradi 10
19 Evan Hasson 11
20 Vivek Mittal-Henkle 10
21 Alex Ugas 12
23 Jonah Song 12
24 Connor Mansfield 10

Special District 2

League Overall GS GA Rank
Taft (3A) 14-0 17-0 117 9 4
Delphian (2A) 9-3-2 10-6-2 60 21 16
Western Christian/Perrydale (2A) 9-3-2 10-6-2 61 28 17
Yamhill-Carlton (3A) 7-5-2 7-6-2 43 29 30
Blanchet Catholic (3A) 5-5-4 6-6-4 34 31 31
Dayton (3A) 3-11 3-12 25 22 45
Salem Academy (3A) 2-11-1 2-11-1 12 109 49

Taft Tigers

Coach: Ryan Ulicni

No. Name Position Grade
00 Sam Cortes GK/GK 10
0 Riley Ellis GK/M 10
4 Ivan Cortez D/D 11
5 Jose Flores M/M 11
7 J.J. Lupercio D/D 10
8 Kevin Acosta M/M 11
9 Sammy Vasquez F/M 10
10 Edson Fuentes F/F 12
11 William Calderon M/F 11
16 Joseph Cruz M/M 11
19 Estib Hernandez D/D 12
21 Alex Del Valle M/D 11
22 Angel Islas D/D 10
23 Adrian Moreno D/D 10
29 Diego Gomez M/F 9
33 Mauricio Rivas M/M 11
50 Kaden Wright M/M 12
88 Matias Vesma M/F 12

 

Special District 4

League Overall GS GA Rank
Brookings-Harbor (3A) 14-0 17-0 124 5 3
Umpqua Valley Christian (1A) 11-3 12-4 78 20 10
Sutherlin (3A) 10-4 10-6 53 35 14
Coquille/Myrtle Point (2A) 7-7 7-7 25 42 27
Glide (2A) 5-8-1 5-8-1 18 37 35
Douglas (3A) 3-8-3 3-8-3 19 41 40
South Umpqua (3A) 2-11-1 2-11-1 20 90 46
Gold Beach/Pacific (2A) 1-12-1 1-12-1 5 69 50

Brookings-Harbor Bruins

Coach: Jess Beaman

No. Name Position Grade
0 Juan Hernandez GK/GK 11
2 Uriel Cortes F/D 9
3 Diego Turner F/M 9
5 Rylan Bruce F/M 11
6 Miguel Ramos-Rodriguez D/F 10
7 Aden Carpenter D/M 11
8 Josh Serna F/M 9
9 Bryan Valdovinos F/M 10
10 Fabian Villa M/F 10
11 Seth Broberg D/F 10
12 Dylan Hodge M/F 10
13 Jair Valdovinos F/M 12
14 Hobbes Howard D/M 11
15 Kallen Christensen D/F 9
16 Harrison Nelson F/D 12
17 Jake Beaman D/M 10
19 Brayden Holler F/M 12
20 Kai Seibert F/M 10
24 Clayton Sackett F/D 12

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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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