By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Saul Hernandez had confidence during his Senior Year that the Sprague Boys Soccer team had the potential to get into the 6A Postseason.
There were games like North Salem and Mountainside that they were in it. With the Vikings, they were up 3-1 before tying by match’s end while holding a hot start Mustang crew to one goal until the final five minutes of the 2-0 contest; it was just a matter of building that confidence with such a young team.
“We did haha,” Hernandez said via e-mail Thursday. “Just I felt like some of the players lacked confidence. They’re all hard working, but they weren’t confident enough. I wanted to let them know that no matter how hard life gets, you keep pushing yourself to where you want to be. It meant so much to me. It was a family on and off the field.”
The Olympians went 4-8-2 overall Hernandez’ Senior Year and 2-5 in Mountain Valley Conference play. Three of those league losses, and two in preseason, came with two goals or less.
In Hernandez’ return from injury against Sandy September 17, he proved that a two-goal swing can happened. Down 3-2 with 3:38 left in the game, Hernandez scored two of his three goals that night within roughly 90 seconds to do a reversal of fate to get Sprague their first win of the year that night in South Salem.
Fast forward to May 7, the Olys Senior made the announcement to take his talents to the next level with Willamette University.
The Bearcats went 11-4-4 overall in 2019 and 8-4-2 in conference play. The opportunity is great said Hernandez, but knows too he still has a lot of work to do to get to that level.
“It takes a lot of patience. The individual training that I take and just keeping my grades up is how I describe it. Just push yourself past your limit and never give up,” Hernandez said. “College is more physical and the speed of the game is way faster. I just have to improve my attributes a bit more.
“t’s very important in the sport and many other sports as well. It’s helped me with mistakes that I wanted to improve when I played games.”
Hernandez was a Second-Team All-MVC as a Senior.