News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Outlaws soccer honors seniors

The Outlaws honored seniors Sean Alvarez, Gavin Christian, Ricky Huffman, Noah Pittman, AJ Scholl, and Josh Schiller prior to their game against Philomath on Thursday, October 21. Coach Jeff Husmann told The Nugget he really feels connected to this year’s seniors, who he says have helped reestablish the soccer program as a contender in the Oregon West Conference, and more importantly have built the culture of this year’s team.

Alvarez is a three-year starter and co-captain, and is the core of the Outlaws’ defensive unit. He has one of the most powerful kicks on the team, and when that caught the attention of the football coach he became the kicker on the football team.

“Sean is quiet by nature, but plays like a beast in defense,” said Husmann. “He is incredibly fast and has such a high soccer IQ.”

Christian is also a three-year starter, and is an incredibly versatile and scrappy player. Most of his minutes this year have been as an outside midfielder, and also as striker.

“Gavin seems to excel the more physical the play is,” said Husmann. “He finds a way to pry out the ball from the opponents’ feet. He has really matured as a positive leader on this team. He mentors the younger players and models the ‘We before Me’ philosophy.”

Huffman has started

for the Outlaws since his freshman year, is a cocaptain and the Outlaws’ leading scorer.

“Ricky is among the most athletic kids I have worked with in my 20 years of coaching,” said Husmann. “He is fast, athletic, and wreaks havoc on defenders. He can have three guys on him and still find a way to score. He brings a fun-loving attitude and high work rate to the team. He befriends all team members, and yet is also willing to call teammates out if that’s what’s required.”

Pittman is a three-year starter, and hasn’t missed a single practice in the last two years. He’s worked hard in the off-season to become a great player.

“Noah is often the first on the practice pitch and the last to leave,” said Husmann. “This commitment, work ethic, and athleticism have been such an asset to this team. He plays with passion and confidence and is a student of the game. He will leave big shoes to fill.”

Scholl is the player who has shown the most growth the last few years. His hard work and positive leadership have made him an integral player in modeling the philosophy of the Outlaws squad.

“AJ is a cocaptain and takes this role very seriously,” said Husmann. “He has shown such maturity this year in supporting all players. He is versatile and tough.”

Schiller rounds out the senior players. Schiller joined the soccer team for his senior year, after playing football the three previous years. He’s proved himself to be a selfless player and committed to helping the team improve.

“It’s tough to step into soccer after being gone for a bit,” said Husmann. “However, Josh was always willing to do what the team needed. Though he did not see much varsity action, he was an integral part of this team. He is a solid defender and quite capable of playing the striker position.”

Husmann added, “I am so proud of this group of seniors and honored to have had the privilege of working with them.”

After honoring the seniors, the Outlaws came into their match against Philomath with something to prove. The Warriors are undefeated this year and the top-ranked team in the Oregon West Conference.

The Outlaws know they can compete with any team in the league, and they were focused and committed to the steep task at hand. For the first 15 minutes of the game Sisters controlled the ball well in the midfield and found opportunities against the Warriors’ outside defenders.

The score was even until the 24th minute when the ball slipped through the Outlaws defense for a Philomath goal.

“Soccer is a fickle game,” said Husmann. “We were winning possession and creating more opportunities, and yet they managed to score and we couldn’t.”

Teams fought evenly through the remainder of the first half, and at the whistle Philomath was on top 1-0.

Early in the second half, the Warriors’ central defender booted the ball toward the Outlaws’ goal, where it took an odd bounce over goalie Corbin Fredland’s head for the score.

“Corbin worked hard to become our starting keeper,” said Husmann. “Weird things can happen and they did. Corbin is such a smart and athletic kid, and it’s tough to watch from the sidelines when you know he’s beating himself up over those stoppable balls. It’s a pressure-cooker in those situations and he handled himself in a mature manner. Overall, he played an outstanding game, and as always learns from his mistakes.”

That second goal took the wind out of the Outlaws’ sails, they let down, and the Warriors scored a third goal.

A spark of hope came for the Outlaws in the 60th minute when Alvarez launched a booming kick that pinballed off one of their defenders for the goal.

Husmann told The Nugget the game was very physical all night long, and the physical play went unchecked. The Warriors’ fourth and final goal came on a penalty kick after a soft foul in the box.

“It was an emotional night for players, coaches, and fans,” said Husmann. “Losing is certainly part of the sport, but to have the outcome influenced by factors other than the two teams is frustrating. I’ve told the boys all season long that we’re family and we lean on each other when things are tough. This night was certainly evidence of that. We are focused on moving forward and going deep into the playoffs.”

Husmann noted Gavin Christian, who he stated played his best game of the season with energized runs down the flanks and tough defending all night long.

The Outlaws were scheduled to wrap up league play at Cascade on Tuesday, October 26.

 

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