By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It’s sure been a journey for the Corban Men’s Soccer team to this point when they entered Saturday’s match with Evergreen, looking to clinched at least a share of the Cascade Collegiate Conference crowd with Rocky Mountain college come Tournament time on November 4.
“It’s been a very satisfying road, it wasn’t an easy road,” said Head Coach Aaron Lewis. “But we just got a really good group of players, talented and good senior leadership really helped us through the various situations that we’ve come across.”
The Warriors started 8-0 on the season, 3-0 in the Cascade Collegiate Conference, before losing their first of two games to Oregon Tech, the lone other loss came from the Battling Bears on October 9.
They battled with the Geoducks and was neck-to-neck with under 20 minutes to go as Evergreen and Corban pushed for that first goal of the game.
Following a restart deep in Geoduck territory, the Warriors drew first blood in the 77th minute with Timur Zhividze connected on his 19th goal of the season.
“Unbelievable,” laughed Zhividze. “Just knowing the last ten minutes, just unbelieveable knowing that could be the game winner, and I can’t even explain that feeling.”
That goal would be his seventh game-winning goal of the season as the defense, backed by seven saves from Jordan Farr, shut down the final tries by Evergreen to snap the shutout and ruin the Warriors celebrations.
“There were definitely some nerves there,” said Lewis. “But, at the same time, I believe a lot in my guys and they know how to close out a game and they’re getting better and better at that and that’s truly a mark of a champion.”
That belief that his team can close out a game showed. Zhividze just described it as giving it all they had for one another.
“Just give it all we got, just give it all we have,” he said. “Just don’t get scored on and just give it all for the team.”
They matched the intensity of the Geoducks as the clock eventually struck zero on the regular season.
You saw the excitement from Corban as they knew the meaning of having getting their name next to the title of ‘CCC-Champions’, co-champions or not, entering the Conference’s Tournament play here in a few days as the clock struck zero and they celebrated the 16-2, 11-2 CCC regular season.
“(It’s) just unbelievable,” said Zhividze. “Just being able to win this with my brothers, especially the seniors guys, it’s just, getting it done for them. It’s unbelievable.”
Lewis knows that they can enjoy this victory, enjoy what they accomplish, but they know it’s going to come down to how they perform in the conference tournament on how they’ll be placed come National Tournament time here in a few weeks.
“We’ll enjoy this for the next few days, and knowing these guys, they’ll be hungry to get a new goal and we’ll turn the page starting on Monday, preparing for what’s next,” said Lewis.
The Conference has already released the seeding for the league and the CCC placed the Warriors second in the tournament bracket when they start play November 4.
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