The Ontario High School soccer team picked off the state’s top 4A team in the playoffs but lost in the next round on Saturday, Nov. 6 to close out the Tigers’ season. (Submitted photo)
Coach Jaime Gonzalez told his Ontario soccer players that they were going to show they were the toughest 16th-ranked team in the state as they headed into the playoffs.
And they did just that last week, defeating No. 1 Stayton in dramatic fashion, winning the playoff game in the penalty period.
But the draining long play and travel back and forth took its toll three days later as the Tigers lost in the 4A state quarterfinals to Hidden Valley 1-0.
“We were so tired,” Gonzalez said.
The Tigers finished their season 7-6-3.
The Stayton contest on Wednesday, Nov. 3, played in Stayton, went scoreless through regulation play and two extra periods.
Gonzalez said morale among the players built as they played Stayton even.
Then came the penalty period, providing each team five kicks. Ontario made all five, with Jaime Gonzalez, Juan Corona, Jesus Hernandez, Jamis Gonzalez and Pedro Aviles each hitting. Goalkeeper Martin Benitez blocked a Stayton kick, opening the way for the Tigers’ 1-0 and an advance in playoffs.
On Saturday, the Tigers played eighth-ranked Hidden Valley even through regulation play and one extra period. The Mustangs scored with four minutes left in the second extra period and Ontario couldn’t counter.
Gonzalez said he loses three starters to graduation but anticipates fresh talent coming in from middle school. He said Benitez, a sophomore, stepped in mid-season when the Tigers lost their starting goalkeeper and performed well.
“We have a lot of core guys in the program for quite awhile,” the coach said.
Other players on this year’s roster were Alik Sigrah, Cesar Orosco, Alexis Cuna, Dallin Berg, Ruben Hernandez, Jaaziel Chavez, Efrain Juarez, Hugo Mendoza, Aidin Cornell, Julian Fischer, Marcos Bauer, Juan Garcia and Hayden David.
News tip? Reach out to the Enterprise team with your idea or story – send an email to [email protected].
EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM – Available for $5 a month. Subscribe to the digital service of the Enterprise and get the very best in local journalism. We report with care, attention to accuracy, and an unwavering devotion to fairness. Get the kind of news you’ve been looking for – day in and day out from the Enterprise.