By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Delphian has traditionally had a strong boys soccer team, and they showcased it Monday afternoon against Western Christian/Amity.
Their athleticism and speed kept the Pioneers on their toes in the Dragons 5-2 victory. Something that Western Christian/Amity had kept pace with entering the second half when they took a 2-1 lead following a Henry Newman goal in the opening minutes.
“It was a good game. They played great, we played our hearts out and did everything we could,” said the Pios Declan Wark. “They’re fast, physical. They got some great players; we got some great players and I can’t wait to see them again.”
Delphain brought their student section over from Sheridan for the match, bringing the hometown atmosphere on this away game as the Dragons answered moments later. Tying the game up in the 45th thanks to Memo Cervantes.
Cervantes and Muji Abulohoum each had brace-feats in the contest, each scoring twice in the second half, to help Delphian score the last four goals of the contest following Newman’s goal early in the half.
“It was just communication. At the beginning we were screaming at each other, after that we just were talking to each other. We needed to communicate and communication is key in this sport, so we overcame the situation and got the win,” Cervantes said.
The adversity was there for the Dragons to respond and answer down one.
Their lone league loss was to Dayton last Monday and didn’t want a repeat performance knowing how cramped the top half of the league is. The win put Delphian in a two-way tie with Taft at 4-1 in the 3A/2A/1A Special District 2 Standings and a game-up on the Pioneers who are 3-2.
“We just didn’t give up. We were down by one goal I think, and then we kept pushing. I kept telling my team not to give up and bring the intensity up. With a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, this was the result,” Dragons captain Minghan Cui said.
“Dayton was a tough one, they’re a pretty good team. Taft was a tough win also; this was even more crucial because this could put us in a good position for State. So, it was a good win.”
Delphian will host Yamhill-Carlton Wednesday before traveling to play Gervais Friday to close the season.
Western Christian/Amity travels to play Blanchet Catholic Wednesday in a crucial battle for fourth-place. The Cavaliers are a game behind the Pioneers at 2-3 in the league standings before turning their focus to Taft on Friday.
In a moment like this, it’s just as crucial to take it one-game at a time knowing how important a win is at this point in the season.
“Last year we focused on making it to State, this year we got to slow it down. We got to focus on the game that’s next and then the next game,” Wark said. “We’re a good team. We can make it far, we just got to play like it. We just got to focus on defense, shooting and stuff like that. Just slow it down, taking it one game at a time and we got it.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald