Columbia High set a new standard for best start ever and recorded its fourth consecutive shutout Monday in beating host Tenino 5-0 in SWW 1A League boys soccer action.
Cheno Barajas and Martin Mendoza each had two goals and an assist as the league-leading Bruins improved to 7-0. Miguel Lujano also scored for CHS and Jose Castaneda notched two assists.
The last time Columbia got off to such a hot start was 2006, when it won its first five matches.
At Tenino, the Bruins overcame the effects of a long bus ride and cold, windy weather conditions--rain and sleet fell from time to time--to keep their current win streak intact.
Barajas got CHS going with a goal in the sixth minute--a scoring shot that came off a long pass from fellow captain Chuy Ramos.
Sixteen minutes passed, however, before the Bruins found the back of the net again.
"We seemed to sit back a bit (after Barajas' goal), but then we set up a flurry of shots and goals in a seven-minute period, with Martin, Cheno and Miguel all getting a goal for their efforts."
That scoring outburst put the Bruins comfortably ahead, 4-0.
Columbia High 5, at La Center 0:
The Bruins took over sole possession of first place in league standings on March 27 with their second shutout in a row.
Cheno Barajas provided most of the offense for Columbia (5-0), finishing with a hat trick. Chuy Ramos and Thomas Jeter also scored goals for the Bruins.
"We came in knowing we were tied for first with La Center, and expecting a close, hard-fought game," Bruins Coach Peter Knowles noted. "Somehow we got started right away and truly controlled the pace throughout the game."
Knowles gave credit for CHS's fast start to Barajas, who "really took control of the game, working the ball out of the midfield and spearheading our attack."
Barajas, who tallied 10 of CHS's 18 shots, opened the scoring with an unassisted goal 4:27 into the first half.
That goal, Knowles said, set the tone for what followed. "It's so powerful to a taem when your early work pays off with an early goal," he added.
Columbia's second goal came 20 minutes later, when Jeter put a scoring shot--the first goal of his varsity career--to the far post following a cross from Edgar Ceballos.
Knowles said Ceballos, after an early season injury, is "proving to be a strong ball-handler on the outside of our attack."
On Jeter's goal, Ceballos worked a "subtle combination" with forward Martin Mendoza to beat his man near the midfield mark, then drew the defense toward him as he sped down the sileine," Knowles said. "His last-second cross to left Tom alone to receive it, find his mark and drive it home."
In the second half, the Bruins continued to drive home the points.
Barajas scored off an assist from Ramos in the 45th minute to make it 3-0. Then, in the last 10 minutes, Ramos and Barajas added goals.
Moreover, the standout play of defenders Ramos, Ramon Cortez and Louy Lerebourg helped Columbia preserve the shutout.
"One of the reasons we worked so well in this game is that, when we made mistakes, someone was always in a position to clean up for their teammate," Knowles said.
Case in point: Late in the match, La Center (5-1) mounted an attack from the deep corner and had beaten backup goalkeeper Sean Stocker with a cross back to the top of the penalty arc.
"The well-placed La Center shot that followed, however, was cut down by defender Hugo Guzman, keeping the shutout alive," Knowles said. "That kind of defense, along with other efforts, helped us turn back La Center attacks and immediately create attacks of our own."
Ramos' goal, Knowles noted, served as an example of how involved CHS's back four of Ramos, Cortez, Guzman and Lerebourg is becoming in the team's offensive scheme.
"Not only are those four all solid defenders in one-on-one and group situations, they know how to turn the ball around once they take it over," CHS's coach observed. "As we move further into the season, that ability to attack from the back should serve us well."
At Columbia High 8, Castle Rock 0:
Martin Mendoza and Jose Viramontes each scored two goals and the CHS program marked a milestone in last Thursday's Bruins' victory over the Rockets.
Columbia, in the 100th match in program history, also got goals from Trenton Morneault, Miguel Lujano, Cheno Barajas and Edgar Ceballos on the way to its third straight shutout win.
"This was a strong team victory, where everyone had lots of playing time," Bruins Coach Peter Knowles said.
Columbia, which led 4-0 at halftime, finished the match with 28 shots, including 16 on goal. CHS's defense, for its part, limited Castle Rock to six total shots, four on goal.
Viramontes' goals--the first came on a first-half penalty kick, the second from the top of the penalty box in the last minute of play--were the first of his varsity career.
Columbia JV 1, at Tenino JV 1:
Finn Anderson assisted on a goal by Leo Gonzales that tied the match with 5 minutes remaining.
The Bruins host the rematch with the Stevenson Bulldogs on Tuesday, April 10.
"This will be a big test, and a large hurdle to get us into the second half of the season," Knowles said.