By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– The tough preseason was finally in its twilight Monday night for the McNary Boy’s Soccer team when they hosted 4-0-1 Gresham to close it out in front of their home crowd.
But it wouldn’t be without a challenge however, and as the Celtic defense was being challenged hard and often by the Gopher offense with a new face in goal for McNary.
Villarreal had to step in for Sebastian Lopez, who suffered a pulled groin muscle in the game before Monday’s preseason finale, and the junior Villarreal didn’t miss a beat with a Lopez-like performance as his defense in front of him gave him an opportunity to adjust to where the Gresham attack was coming from as he pitched a shutout in the 1-0 win Monday evening.
“Organization in the back is always well. I think defense wins games and our starter’s hurt so it’s my best and fill his shoes,” said Villarreal on adjusting to the Gopher defense and not missing a beat with Lopez out for the game. “I’m just playing my game and I’m doing my best to keep the ball out of the net.”
Jesus Lopez scored the lone goal late in the opening half for the Celts, but that would be all she wrote for the preseason as they wrapped her up on a four-game winning streak after starting their 2018 campaign 0-1-2.
And as hard as it was, the Mountain Valley Conference-opener will be as tough as this preseason with West Salem next Tuesday at home and then 5-0 Summit next Saturday in Bend to start of conference play.
“This preseason has had a lot of tough games, it prepared us a lot. Physically I can say we played some of the top teams and thankfully enough we got a few victories,” said Miguel Bravo. “Four-straight victories and so I think against West it’s going to be a very good game and for us we’re going to be on our A-game and do our best to get a victory.
“It’s really tough. But you know for the team I feel like if we can just prepare ourselves physically and mentality, we have a chance to go really far and it’s just a matter of putting in the work.”
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald