News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Tough defense drives soccer success

The Outlaws soccer squad won on the road at Sweet Home (SH) on Tuesday, September 21. Two days later, they finished with a tie at Newport. In Tuesday’s action a balanced team effort on the turf at Sweet Home resulted in the Outlaws’ 5-1 win. Last year against SH, Sisters entered the game overconfident and the Huskies took advantage of their lackluster play. Although they managed to walk away with a narrow 1-0 win last year, they knew that this year they should not take the Huskies lightly.

Sisters set the tone early with aggressive play and good communication across the pitch. They created many early opportunities to score, but unfortunately fell short in shot accuracy. Coach Jeff Husmann told The Nugget that many of the teams in their division will punish them if they don’t improve on capitalizing on those opportunities on the offensive end.

The Outlaws held possession for most of the first half, but just could not get the ball in the goal. The Huskies’ keeper, a third-year starter, gave up very few rebounds.

It was deadlocked 0-0 just minutes before the half when Vince Christian was finally able to score a great goal off a Ricky Huffman assist. Less than a minute later, Gavin Christian scored when the Huskies’ keeper gave up a rare rebound. At the half, the Outlaws held a 2-0 lead.

Sweet Home scored less than six minutes into the second half, but the Outlaws responded well. They stayed composed, relied on each other, and communicated well.

Huffman scored in the 50th minute off a Corbin Fredland assist for Sisters’ third goal of the contest. Tate Kaczmarek scored unassisted late in the second half to push the Outlaws to a 4-1 advantage.

With less than two minutes left on the clock, Aiden Eckert scored the final goal of the match when Kaczmarek pried the ball loose in the corner and sent it to Eckert for the assist.

“Aiden is a quiet work horse on the team,” said Husmann. “He has such a sharp vision of the field, knows when to take on defenders, and when to dish the ball off. He is not a target goal scorer for us, but often is at the center of creating offensive plays. It was well deserved when he tucked the ball into the back of the net in the final minute of the game.”

A couple personnel shifts were key in the Outlaws’ win. Junior Taine Martin started in goal, and Vince Christian was moved into a more offensive position.

“Taine’s willingness to learn opens up his potential to be a very solid goalkeeper,” said Husmann. “It also allows us to have a different look on the field as far as positions.

Husmann told The Nugget that the key to the win was the Outlaws’ balanced style of play and their solid defense.

Husmann had praise for Gus Patton as a scholar of the game, becoming a core member of the Outlaws’ defense. Noah Pittman was also noted for his outstanding game as an outside defender and his ability to play the ball more quickly.

“I am most proud of how selfless we are playing,” said Husmann. “Five goals by five different players suggest that kids are buying into our philosophy. We are improving each game and know that it will be a tough road to reach our goals this season.”

Husmann said, “The Huskies continue to improve each season and truly have some of the best sportsmanship we have experienced, as well as being competitive and well coached.”

Two days later, the Outlaws finished with a 1-1 deadlock against the physical Newport Cubs squad.

Sisters once again set the tone early with a lot of action from the defensive end of the field. They had numerous opportunities on offense, but just couldn’t get the ball in the net.

Midway thorough the first half, senior Sean Alvarez took the free kick from just over 40 yards out and ripped a beautiful shot that dipped over the Cubs’ keeper to give the Outlaws a 1-0 lead.

“Sean is such a quiet kid, but certainly speaks with his game,” said Husmann. “He is absolutely the core of our defense, and it was so awesome to see him get the go-ahead goal.”

The Cubs’ goal came early in the second half. Outlaws keeper Taine Martin stepped off his line, made himself big, and took a ball off the chest, but the Cubs got the rebound and leveled the score.

At that point, Sisters seemed to lose control of the midfield and were disorganized for much of the second half. Momentum shifted back to the Outlaws way late in the game, but they still couldn’t find the back of the net.

Husmann told The Nugget that the defense had their best performance to date.

“AJ Scholl, Gus Patton, Sean Alvarez, and Noah Pittman are really coming together as a stingy back line,” said Husmann. “Gus improves every game, and Noah likes to play physical, and today he closed down their outside threat.

“Sophomore Baylor Dyer continues to see more minutes each game,” added Husmann. “His speed and athleticism help tremendously in defense.” Husmann said, “Newport knew they got away with one. Soccer is such a fickle game sometimes. We outplayed them and yet didn’t win the game. I really love this group of young men. They are teammates and friends, and this is what matters most.”

The Outlaws were to play at Philomath on Tuesday, September 28. They will host the Cascade Cougars on Thursday, two days later.


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