Scrappy Outlaws work hard on soccer pitch
Last updated 3/23/2021 at Noon
The Outlaws boys soccer team has had a strong month, posting wins before falling to a tough Stayton Eagles squad in a final score of 0-8 at Stayton on Thursday, March 18.
The Eagles have a strong, balanced, and well-coached team, and they controlled the ball from the opening whistle.
Outlaws goalie Nathaniel Alvarez was busy much of the night, and put out great effort. Stayton had 21 shots on goal to the Outlaws’ six. Although the Eagles were dominant, the Outlaws kept scrapping and didn’t give up.
Coach Jeff Hussman said, “Despite the lopsided result, there were several opportunities for growth. The underclass men have really stepped up and are helping to establish the culture of this team. Everyone is buying into the program, working hard, pushing each other to improve, and having fun along the way.”
A week earlier, the Outlaws won both their games — a 1-0 shutout over the Huskies at Sweet Home on Tuesday, March 9, and two days later a 2-1 road victory over Mountain View.
It took the Outlaws some time to adjust to the speed of Sweet Home’s turf field, but once they did, the midfield players did a great job of maintaining possession of the ball and building up the attack in the first half.
Simon Rhett and Aidan Eckert were consistently at the core of the work done in the midfield. Gavin Christian, Tate Kaczmarek, and Bryan Reiner also helped the Outlaws control possession of the ball.
Sisters only goal came in the 28th minute when Ricky Huffman fought hard for an unassisted goal.
Coach Hussman said, “Ricky consistently has such a high work rate and creates many chances for himself by just pestering defenders and winning back the ball.”
The second half was marked with a steady, chilly rain that made the playing surface less predictable. The momentum shifted in Sweet Home’s favor and the Outlaws lost the rhythm they had in the first half.
Sweet Home’s offensive weapons kept the Outlaw’s back four (Vince Christian, Connor Martin, Sean Alvarez, and Austin Dean) very busy, and Hussman was pleased with their performance.
“These guys played an outstanding game in marking their dangerous strikers and covering for each other,” said Hussman. “They are speedy, aggressive and play smart together.”
The Outlaws also beat 6A Mountain View in a hard-fought physical matchup at home in Sisters. There was a bit more energy in the air as families were allowed to watch the game.
From the start of the first whistle, it was evident both teams came ready to play. The Outlaws knew that Mountain View would test their defense, which they did, but Sisters established the tone of the match early.
Scoring opportunities were tough to come by, but in the 30th minute Huffman intercepted a pass out of their defense and scored. A short time later, a penalty kick was awarded to the Cougars, but the shot hit the post and ricocheted out. At the half, Sisters held a slim 1-0 advantage.
Mountain View held possession of the ball for the majority of the second half, and capitalized with the game-tying goal with less than 12 minutes left in the contest.
Sisters responded with six minutes left to play. Gavin Christian made a pass to Aiden Eckert who found himself one-on-one with the goalie. Aiden stayed calm and composed and poked the ball into the back of the net for his first goal of the season. Sisters went up by one and held on for the win.
Hussman told The Nugget that a huge part of the win and the Outlaws’ success is the play of senior keeper Nathaniel Alvarez.
“Nathaniel has such a solid understanding of what his job is and is a great captain on this team,” said Hussman. “He has a wonderful sense of humor, but also has high expectations of himself and his teammates. He had several strong saves and didn’t allow the defense to lose focus.”
Hussman stated that the win over Mountain View was the Outlaws’ biggest win in the two years he’s been coaching at Sisters.
“This win felt like a defining moment for the character of this team,” said Hussman. “Energy, trust, and commitment to a shared purpose is at the cornerstone of this team.”