Boys Varsity Soccer Team Goes 5-0 to Start the Season

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Boys Varsity Soccer Team Goes 5-0 to Start the Season

The boys varsity soccer team gets ready to depart for their game against Hood River yesterday, Sept. 24.

The boys varsity soccer team gets ready to depart for their game against Hood River yesterday, Sept. 24.

Julia Tran

The boys varsity soccer team gets ready to depart for their game against Hood River yesterday, Sept. 24.

Julia Tran

Julia Tran

The boys varsity soccer team gets ready to depart for their game against Hood River yesterday, Sept. 24.

Addi Wedin, Staff Reporter

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The La Salle boys varsity soccer team has had a strong start to their preseason, with a 5-0 winning streak, earning them a #1 OSAA ranking.

On Tuesday, Sept. 24, in the team’s most recent game, they took down Hood River. The final score was 4-0, with 3 of the goals coming from junior captain Noa Taylor. 

“For the first 25 minutes we were not moving the ball as fast as we usually do,” senior Emmanuel Arredondo said. “But towards the end of the first half and the second half, we stayed composed and started to move the ball a lot quicker.” 

Last year, the team made it all the way to the state championship game, but fell short in a close match against Corvallis with a final score of 0-1. 

“We went undefeated and lost in an overtime game,” said Mr. Seth Altshuler, counselor and head varsity boys soccer coach. “I am incredibly proud of last year. I don’t look back on it with anything but respect for what the boys did, and for the season they had.” 

On Sept. 20, the team traveled to West Salem’s home field and took the victory with a 2-0 win. “We came into this game excited and [we] were ready to compete, and I was proud of my teammates and I,” senior Quintin Castner said.

“I think this year’s team… definitely [has] more experience,” Mr. Altshuler said. The group has many experienced players, with 14 returning from last season. Many of the seniors have been playing together for many years, allowing them to communicate easily on the field.

“The majority of the team is seniors,” said Luke Strange, a senior and one of the team captains. “And it’s such a tight-knit group. We know each other pretty well on and off the field.”

On Tuesday, Sept. 5, the boys played in their first game at home against Central, winning 10-0. “I think we did [well] because it was our first game of the season and we were all really excited to go out and perform,” Castner said. 

The boys played Newberg High School at home the following week on Thursday, Sept. 12. Despite a rough start, they ended up winning 2-1. “We had plenty of chances, but we struggled to put them away,” junior captain Noa Taylor said. “However, the thing about this team is that we never give up on a game.”

Mr. Altshuler is confident about this season, but he doesn’t want the team to ever settle or get complacent.

“I think [complacency is] one of the downsides to having a group where you return a lot of starters,” Mr. Altshuler said. 

Mr. Altshuler thought that the Newberg game was an eye-opening experience because it showed the boys getting too comfortable with their performance. “I think we learned a lot from that game,” he said.

“Although things weren’t going our way, we [kept] pushing and eventually that paid off,” Taylor said. “Wade and I both scored within the last two minutes of the game.” 

Junior Wade Nichols, a center midfielder, scored the game winning goal for the Newberg game. It was the last ten seconds of the game, the clock was ticking, and the score was 1-1; Nichols knew he had to do anything possible to try to net the ball.

“It involved a lot of adrenaline,” Nichols said. “I just kept thinking, ‘don’t miss’, because that would be embarrassing, and I just sort of [got] lucky with the timing. It was fun and a great experience.”

On Tuesday, Sept. 17, the La Salle boys beat Corvallis during an away game, scoring 4 goals in the second half. The team came out strong in the second half, and Nichols led his teammates with two goals, one of them being a backwards header. “I was hyped because I knew that gave us the lead we needed and it felt good to have scored with my head from outside the 18,” Nichols said. “It was something I’ve never done before.”

Quentin Strange is the only freshman on the boys varsity soccer team.

“It feels like a very proud moment in my life, and very special that I’m the only freshman,” Strange said. “I’m so thankful to get to play alongside my older brother [Luke Strange]. It is a fun experience that I have dreamed of since I watched my brother’s first game.” 

Several members of the team commented on the great chemistry that they have on and off the field. “We all hang out, and we’re really close,” senior Karter Cook said.

Mr. Altshuler has been coaching the varsity squad for five years now, and has developed a strong relationship with many players on the team. 

“He’s a great mentor,” Luke Strange said. “If you need anything, you can go to him and he’s a super open and honest guy. He makes the practices fun but also competitive. He knows when to make sure we’re on and focused but also knows how to joke around with us, too.” 

The team is looking forward to the rest of the season.

“We can actually go far,” Cook said. “We have a chance to win it all. Because I know last year we fell short.”

The team travels to Centennial High School next Tuesday, Oct. 1.