Rogelio “Junior” Mireles (No. 16) dribbles past La Grande players during an intense game on Saturday, Oct. 26. (The Enterprise/Joe Siess)
ONTARIO – The Ontario Tigers wrapped up their exciting season on Saturday, Oct. 26, after a couple of intense games at home against one of their main adversaries, La Grande.
The season resulted in the girls flipping their league record from last year and securing a spot in the playoffs, and the boys earning the league title for the second year in a row.
Those are big accomplishments for the Ontario High School soccer program.
In Saturday’s game, the boys split with La Grande, 1-1, finishing the season with an overall record of 8-4. Freshman Julian Tellez scored for the team.
The Lady Tigers lost to La Grande 4-0, finishing with an overall record of 5-7.
“Overall when I looked at my team I was aiming for a 6-6 and we ended up with a 5-7,” girls coach Javier Gonzalez said.
“We definitely overachieved. I thought we could do pretty much what we did. It’s definitely been a good thing, but we are still trying to get another win, that’s for sure,” Gonzalez said. Gonzalez said that the Lady Tigers will be one of the 12 teams automatically entered into the first round of the playoffs, and that he expects them to be anywhere from 13th to a 16th seed.
The playoff opponent to open playoffs hadn’t been settled by presstime.
“I think we kind of set the bar,” Gonzalez said about the season overall.
Gonzalez said that the girls are getting a taste of what he brings to the program and the soccer community.
“It is definitely a family atmosphere,” he said.
Gonzalez added that he and his brother Jaime, who coaches the boys, work together to create this family atmosphere that provides support and reassurance to the players.
“I really think the boys and the girls are starting to see that and are starting to act and react to it,” Gonzalez added.
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The boys split against La Grande, currently ranked seventh, a team they beat on their own turf 3-1 earlier in the month. The Tigers are currently ranked fourth.
“It definitely would have helped with the win,” said boys coach Jaime Gonzalez.
Gonzalez said that games against La Grande and Mac-Hi are usually on the same level of intensity, given that all three teams are vying for the league title each year.
“They definitely wanted to beat us,” Gonzalez said of La Grande on Saturday. Gonzalez said that he is proud of not only his team, but of everyone involved.
“It takes a whole community to kind of raise these boys and teach them the right thing,” Gonzalez said.
“And that is what I’m most proud of – when people tell me that these boys are really respectful and good kids,” the coach said.
The players, in addition to playing to win, take care of school and their families, and such a culture of responsibility and ambition is what Gonzalez brings to the soccer program.
“Obviously, we all want to win, and you can’t do that without doing it the right way. And how proud those boys make us when they make the right choices and do the right things,” Gonzalez added.
The Tigers will play again in early November, but their opponent has yet to be announced.
Have a news tip? Reporter Joe Siess: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.
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