Photo by Lukas Eggen
Central junior forward Brandon Lopez fights to gain possession of a loose ball against Marist Catholic on Nov. 1.
As of Wednesday, November 8, 2017
INDEPENDENCE — It wasn’t the ending anyone on Central’s boys soccer team was expecting.
No. 13 Marist Catholic upset the fourth-seeded Panthers 1-0 in the first round of the 5A state playoffs on Nov. 1.
“It was a heart-breaker,” senior Aaron Padilla said. “But that’s soccer.”
Central entered the match with hopes of a deep run, but instead found itself making an earlier-than-expected exit.
“I wish we got a little farther,” coach Joe Orozco said. “We didn’t finish our chances. I guess that’s just how it goes sometimes. Sometimes you stick to your plan and it doesn’t work. We had some really good (scoring) chances but just couldn’t put it away. We just couldn’t.”
Marist Catholic took a 1-0 lead midway through the first half. The Panthers had several shots on goal throughout the rest of the match, including a shot that ricocheted off the goalie, but Central could never quite find the back of the net.
“Marist played and defended well,” Orozco said. “If we don’t put them in, we don’t win. That’s what happened here.”
Marist Catholic lost to La Salle 3-0 in the state quarterfinals on Saturday.
The Panthers finished the season with a 12-2-1 record overall and 6-1 mark in Mid-Willamette Conference play. Central won its first league title since joining 5A.
“To me, this season was great because we got a league title,” Padilla said. “That’s something we haven’t done since 2008. We worked hard through the summer and season. Despite the short playoff run, it was still a very successful season and I’m very proud of my teammates and coaching staff.”
The Panthers accomplished a lot during the 2017 season, but Orozco wanted a happier finish to a strong year.
“I was just hoping for a better ending,” Orozco said.