With 1A Trico League victories over Toledo/Winlock and Woodland last week, Columbia High’s boys soccer team solidified its hold on fourth place in the standings.
The Bruins, however, entered the final week of the 2014 regular season with a chance to move into the top three. They hosted a pivotal Senior Night match on Tues-day against second-place Seton Catholic (too late for this week’s press deadline); they travel to King’s Way on Thursday for their regular-season finale.
If the season ended today, though, Columbia, as the Trico’s fourth-place team, would have to play the Ever-green League’s No. 3 team on Saturday for a berth in the Southwest District tournament that gets under way next Tuesday, May 13, and concludes on Saturday, May 17.
At Columbia 2, Toledo/-Winlock 0: Senior Gabe Guzman scored a goal in each half of the Bruins’ April 29 victory over United.
Guzman put CHS on top 1-0 in the first half when he took a quick free kick that surprised Toledo/Winlock’s defense.
“It was his fourth free kick goal versus Toledo in three years, the second this year, and the second that he took quickly to catch them off guard,” Bruins Coach Christopher Cramer noted.
Guzman made it 2-0 when he found space at the top of the penalty box and hit a low shot to the bottom left corner of United’s goal.
Toledo/Winlock (8-3 in Trico) created some scoring chances for itself as the game clock ticked down, but a strong defensive effort from Columbia’s backline, led by junior Isidro Ramirez and freshman Brady Trullinger, kept the slate clean for CHS (6-4 in Trico).
At Columbia 4, Tenino 2: Junior Luis Pascual and sophomore Ivan Cortes both tallied two goals to lead the Bruins to the non-league win over the Beavers on Monday.
Pascual and Cortes share the team lead in goals scored with 14 each. Neither scored when CHS lost at Tenino, 3-1, on April 26.
In the rematch, the Bruins took a 3-0 lead into the intermission, thanks to two goals by Pascual and one by Cortes.
Pascual broke a scoreless tie when he buried a penalty kick following a Tenino handball infraction inside Tenino’s goal box. He made it 2-0 moments later, sinking a shot into the side netting from a tight angle on the right side of the box. Cortes gave CHS a three-goal lead just before halftime when he drove a free kick past Tenino’s goalkeeper.
“Our team learned a valuable lesson the first time out and was ready to find success this time around,” Cramer said. “We came out strong, dominating play and creating chances again.”
Cramer pulled most of CHS’s starters at halftime to rest them for the rematch with Seton Catholic. Tenino, though, kept its key players on the field and managed to get two goals back and pull within one goal with about 8 minutes remaining.
At that point, Cramer reinserted some starters to close out the match without further incident.
Cortes netted his second goal in the late going to give the Bruins some additional security. Pressure from Isidro Ramirez created the opportunity for Cortes, who knocked an easy ball past Tenino’s keeper after Ramirez’s pressure forced an error at the top of the penalty box.
Columbia 4, at Woodland 1: The Bruins got goals from four players en route to their second Trico road victory.
Those goals came off the feet of Ivan Cortes, Luis Pascual, junior Mario Vargas, and senior Chema Gonzalez (on a penalty kick earned by Isidro Ramirez).
“It was in the mid-80s for this game and neither team had acclimated to that kind of heat after a cold and wet spring,” Cramer noted. “The first half was slow and you could tell the heat was a factor.”
The Beavers got on the scoreboard first, capitalizing on a CHS defensive error that gave them the ball at the top of the 18-yard box for an easy finish.
“We had to work through some frustration to finally get our breakthrough when Ivan Cortes scored right before halftime,” Cramer said.
A pep talk during the break energized the Bruins and, said Cramer, “we came out firing on all cylinders for the second half.”
An alert Pascual put CHS ahead in the first minute of the new half when he reacted to loose ball inside the goal box and fired it into the roof of the net. The goal was set up when Woodland’s keeper punched away a crossing shot from the right side, only to have the ball deflect on his center back.
Gonzalez made it 3-1 when he converted a penalty kick earned by Ramirez, who was taken down inside the penalty box during an attack that began on the left flank.
Cramer moved Ramirez from his normal position of center back to left back to take advantage of Ramirez’s attack skills. The results were all positive.
For CHS’s fourth goal, Ramirez made another run down the sideline and drove a low cross that Vargas met at the back post and deposited into the net.
At Tenino 3, Columbia 1: Sophomore Luis Romero scored the Bruins’ lone goal off a free kick that came with only a few minutes remaining in the April 26 friendly.
The non-league match was scoreless through the first 60 minutes of play, but turned in Tenino’s favor midway through the second half when the Beavers tallied goals with three quick counterattacks up the middle of the pitch.
Just before halftime, Ivan Cortes had a chance to put the Bruins ahead after being tackled inside the penalty box. The Beavers’ goalkeeper blocked the penalty kick, however, to preserve the 0-0 deadlock.