Sunday, November 26, 2006

Oregon 5A and 6A Soccer Championships

If I'm not playing soccer, I'm likely shooting soccer; I have thousands of soccer images on file. Knowing the game, makes it more fun to shoot the game. It doesn't have to be a "big game," I enjoy shooting any soccer game, but the "big games" can bring out more passion and emotion...and nothing brings that out like high school state championships.

At the 6A level, Jesuit's boys team found itself in a very familiar setting as they made their 12th final appearance against McMinnville, a team who had never made it to a championship final. It was the classic tale of David toppling Goliath as the quick, skillful and industrious Grizzlies shocked Jesuit by winning 2-1 in an overtime penalty shootout. The match was extremely fast paced and physical which, along with the tensions of a shootout, built up to an explosion of joy for McMinnville when that last PK settled in the back of the net. For the 6A girls, Tualatin won its second championship in as many years as it dominated a pesky Oregon City side, winning 3-0 in a match that turned out to be a bit of a yawner.

For me, the match of the day was the 5A boys final pitting an underdog side from Hillsboro High against a heavily favored Bend team. Early in the match Hillsboro surprisingly jumped out to a 1-0 lead, but only to go down to 10 men two minutes later when one of its players was ejected for a dangerous tackle. Forced to play over three-quarters of the match a man down, Hillsboro not only beat the odds, they beat Bend by an amazing margin of 5-2. The passion and emotion that Hillsboro used to overcome a favored side while being a man short burst out in an ardent post-game celebration with its faithful fans.

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