CHS Men’s Soccer Reaches Playoffs

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CHS Men’s Soccer Reaches Playoffs

Mohammad Mohammad protects the ball, hoping to score a goal for his team during the game against Roosevelt. Photo by Jaden Rapaport.

Mohammad Mohammad protects the ball, hoping to score a goal for his team during the game against Roosevelt. Photo by Jaden Rapaport.

Mohammad Mohammad protects the ball, hoping to score a goal for his team during the game against Roosevelt. Photo by Jaden Rapaport.

Mohammad Mohammad protects the ball, hoping to score a goal for his team during the game against Roosevelt. Photo by Jaden Rapaport.

By Ronan McCann, Reporter

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Cleveland was at the peak of their game during the start and end of their season. They had a five game win streak in pre-season, beating teams by an average of over two goals. Things were looking pretty good for the Warriors.

As soon as the PIL started, though, they didn’t win their first three games. They only beat two teams in the PIL, Benson and Roosevelt. Cleveland barely kept their playoff dreams alive, making it into one of the last play-in spots.

At this point in the season the Warriors kicked it up a notch. “I think we really figured out the best way to play towards the end of the season,” said head coach Nick Yoder.

Heading into the playoffs Cleveland was ranked 25, and had to beat Gresham in the play-in game to reach the first round. They faced previous state champions Lakeridge, ranked eighth.

The Warriors started the half against Lakeridge with five minutes of solid possession. Eventually Lakeridge was able to gain some momentum, but not for a while. Cleveland opened the scoring, though, with a first half goal from junior Alex Weiler. The second goal came from senior Loic Baures.

Both goals the Warriors scored were well executed and not just lucky goals. They deserved to win and played like the better team. The final score was 2-1.

After beating Lakeridge they moved on to the round of 16 to play Grants Pass. Because the Cavemen were the higher ranked team, the Warriors were forced to make the grueling four hour drive to southern Oregon to play them.

The game was hard fought and scrappy. The match ended in a 1-1 tie, the game being decided on kicks from the spot. To even get to that point, Cleveland had to score late on a penalty kick to equalize, having trailed 1-0 in the first half of overtime. Weiler converted the penalty kick shortly before the final overtime period ended.

The pressure was on for both teams. Whichever team lost would not move on to the quarterfinals. Both keepers made some amazing saves, but Grants Pass emerged victorious 5-4.

“It was disappointing to end the way we did in PK’s. I thought we should have at least moved on another round at least, but that’s the way the game goes sometimes,” admitted Yoder.

It was a somewhat disappointing end to the season, but they still made it much farther than any recent Cleveland boys teams had.

Sophomore Jett Starr and senior team captain Paetin Nelson-Gibbons earned first team all PIL. Yoder said, “Paetin and Jett definitely deserved that award. They continually brought their best effort day in and day out.”

Weiler and freshman Mohammad Mohammad made second team all PIL. Seniors Peter Za and Dawson Davis earned honorable mention.

Cleveland will be losing 11 seniors this year. It will be a heavy blow to the team, but Yoder is still hopeful for next year, saying, “next season will be exciting. We have

a really strong group of guys returning and a strong group of guys from JV looking to make their mark on the team. It’ll be really difficult to make selections, but will be extremely fun.”

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