PHIL HAWKINS - North Marion sophomore Edgar Lopez (left) receives congratulations from
teammates Andres Agabo (center) and Elvis Gomez moments after
scoring his fifth goal of the night against Sweet Home.
In a 4A boys soccer play-in battle between opposing Huskies, the sophomore midfielder from North Marion High School came through with a career game, scoring five goals to propel his team to a 6-0 victory over visiting Sweet Home on Saturday.
The two Husky teams clashed against each other on a neutral field over the weekend, meeting in the evening on Sherwood High School’s turf field instead of North Marion’s grass pitch that had been rendered nearly unplayable due to heavy rains in recent weeks.
The result was a fast-paced game that favored North Marion’s relentless attacking offense that continuously created scoring opportunities throughout the game.
Lopez was quick to take advantage, scoring a hat trick in the first 30 minutes of the game to put North Marion ahead 3-0. Teammate Jair Cano assisted on two of Lopez’s first three goals.
Lopez didn’t stop there, though. The sophomore continued to pressure the Sweet Home defense and connected once again in the 37th minute, launching a shot from 30 yards away into the back of the net to put the Huskies up by a 4-0 margin entering the half.
North Marion focused more on ball possession than outright offense in the second half, but they still managed to tack on a pair of goals.
The first came on a breakaway play from freshman Isaac Montecinos, who dribbled between a pair of Sweet Home defenders to nail home a goal four minutes into the half.
The second once again came from Lopez, who found himself one-on-one with the Sweet Home keeper near the top left side of the box. Lopez sent a swift shot on the ground between the keeper’s legs into the back of the net to make it 6-0 with 20 minutes left to play.
Lopez and several other starters rested for the remainder of the game, leaving North Marion’s reserves to close out the contest and preserve the shutout.
Sweet Home was able to find some offensive traction late, but North Marion keeper Martin Herrera’s diving save in the waning minutes of the game preserved the shutout.
It was the fifth game in which North Marion held an opposing team scoreless this season, four of which have come in the past five games as the Huskies have surged into the playoffs.
The team’s victory over Sweet Home puts North Marion back in the first round of the OSAA playoffs for the sixth consecutive year.
The Huskies (8-5-2, 6-3-1 Oregon West) enter the playoff bracket seeded 11th overall, likely putting the team on the road throughout the postseason. North Marion opens its first round game this week at No. 6-seeded Tillamook High School (11-2-1, 7-0-1 Cowapa League) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The winner advances to face either No. 3 Newport or No. 14 Henley in the quarterfinals on Saturday.