INDEPENDENCE -- Central's boys soccer team remained tied with Philomath for the Val-Co Conference lead Oct. 12 with a 6-0 conquest of visiting Sweet Home.
"I thought we played much better, perhaps our best soccer of the year in the second half," Panthers coach Joe Penna said. "We tend to be more of a second-half team. It takes us a while to get into a rhythm and develop our sense of team and balance. Our touches are sharper, and our speed of thought and speed of play seems to improve as the match develops."
Carlos Esquivel and Jonathan Myrie scored two goals apiece for Central (7-2-1 overall, 6-1-1 Val-Co). John Ritacco and Christian Gonzalez also scored for Central.
Gonzalez and Adrian Diaz assisted on two goals apiece. Israel Avila also had an assist.
Avila and Diaz, both midfielders, were the guiding forces behind the Central offense.
"They were the playmakers who created many scoring opportunities," Penna said, "Israel by consistent tackling of the ball and winning the 50-50 balls. and Adrian by accurate through-passes to set up his teammates."
Central travels to Newport Thursday, Oct. 19 but is eying the Oct. 26 showdown at home against Philomath that likely will determine the league championship.
"We're pleased with our progress to date," Penna said. "I believe we've yet to play our best soccer. The hope is that we can peak at the end of the season and carry that momentum into the playoffs."
: Central played to a scoreless tie Oct. 11 at home against Western Mennonite and lost 7-0 Oct. 16 at Philomath.