The Ontario Tigers celebrate with their coach, Jaime Gonzalez (left), and assistant coach, Daniel Dominguez (right), at the Nov. 19 soccer awards banquet at the Ontario High School cafeteria. (The Enterprise/Joe Siess)
ONTARIO – The Ontario soccer program logged an epic season. Both the girls and the boys made the playoffs and the boys clinched the league title for the second time in a row.
Boys coach Jaime Gonzalez, was named coach of the year in the Greater Oregon League and the girls flipped their league record from last year.
At a soccer awards banquet Nov. 19 at the Ontario High School cafeteria, the Gonzalez brothers honored their teams.
Girls coach Javier Gonzalez announced all-league first team selections including Briona Romayor and Deisy Montoya.
Named all-league second team were Iris Meza, Tiffany Nelson, Boston Garcia, and Ashley Cano.
Yesenia Rodriguez, Anita Mireles and Mary Galindo received honorable mentions.
Jaime Gonzalez announced the all-league first team picks for the boys, including Greg Rodriguez, Erick Lopez, Rogelio “Junior” Mireles and Zeke Parker. Second team players included Marc Salas, Javier Chavez, and Adrian Nuñez.
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Greg Rodriguez earned co-most valuable player in the league.
Gonzalez said winning the first league game of the season against Mac-Hi on Sept. 21 really set the tone of the season for the girls.
Gonzalez also saw improvement, even though the girls lost to La Grande in both of their league games this year. They lost first game 9-0 on Oct. 2 and the second game 4-0 on Oct. 26.
“When we played teams twice, our second game was always better,” Gonzalez said. “It is just a big turn-around and these girls are getting the confidence from other teams and coaches and that is what I want.”
Gonzalez said the assistant girls coach, Hailee Turner, was important to the team’s success.
Gonzalez said that he expects to have 12 returning players next season, six of them seniors.
“We won some awards here and there but I also want these girls to be all academic,” Gonzalez said.
For next season, Gonzalez hopes the girls can pick up where they left off.
“Hopefully we just come back in better shape, stronger,” Gonzalez said.
For the boys, one thing that stands out – besides clinching the league title – is that the boys met all of the goals they set at the beginning, the coach said.
Gonzalez said the boys wanted to make 50 goals in the season. They made 52. They also set the goal of giving up only ten goals. They gave up nine.
And their main goal? Make it to the first round of the playoffs. They did that – and won.
The two games in that run that stick out in Gonzalez’s mind were against La Grande.
The first game was in La Grande, and the Tigers won 3-1. The second was in Ontario; the teams tied 1-1.
“La Grande was a special one,” Gonzalez said. “It was windy, it was cold, a lot of things stacked up against us.”
Gonzalez said that next year he will have nine returning players.
Gonzalez said making it to the playoffs showed the team that they are capable of playing with anybody in the state.
“I think the boys realized what we built over the years,” Gonzalez said.
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