Men’s soccer team improves point streak
By Henry Will
The Chemeketa men’s soccer team wasn’t in top form this season until it turned on the burners in its past four matches.
With a winless early, things were looking grim until the recent turn-around.
Typical was the game this past Saturday, when the Storm took on the Pierce College Raiders at Blanchet High School in Salem.
The match kicked off under an unusually warm October sun.
Play was stopped just five minutes in for an apparent lower body injury to Chemeketa forward Jose Reyes, who was replaced by Jorge Rico.
The only offense generated in the first half by the Storm consisted of thunderous runs made by left back Gilberto Arreola toward the Raiders’ box, although none found the back of the net.
Pierce broke through first with a counterattack led by Austin McKenzie, a 6-foot-2 freshman who slotted a strike past Chemeketa’s Alfredo Lara.
The first half came to a close with the Storm missing multiple opportunities, one of which sailed just wide off the foot of freshman forward Elvis Pavon from Eugene.
“I missed an opportunity,” Pavon said. “I was down after the first half.”
The second half brought more drama early on with a malicious tackle in the penalty area by left back Gilberto Arreola on Pierce’s Martin Lopez Jr. The play resulted in a red card and a penalty shot from the spot, which was converted by Shawn Frisbe.
The Storm turned it around in the 66th minute with a strong push up the left side. A resulting was converted by the Storm’s Armando Guervara.
Papon would lead the team heroically through the 80th minute with a strong attack, systematically passing through the Raiders’ defense.
In the 81st minute, Storm keeper Lara made a save off a free kick that can only to be described as brilliant.
He then booted the ball down field, giving his team a large advantage and Pavon the chance to strike. He converted on a screaming shot past the goalie’s right glove, equalizing the game in the 84th minute.
McKenzie took the ball straight from the restart down to Chemeketa’s net again, only to be stopped by Lara’s soft hands.
Lara again sent the ball down to Chemeketa’s hungry forwards, who developed some important tikataka passing before Pavon again brought the ball across the top of the 18-yard box and blasted it into the net.
The Storm held onto 32 lead with an improbable 10-man effort, thwarting the Raiders on home turf.
“We had to win it,” Pavon said of the team’s latest effort.
Despite the slow start, the Storm has played in-conference foe’s well, posting a 301 record.
Chemeketa has an overall record of 361 as of Saturday and play twice this next week, once on Wednesday at South Puget Sound and again at home against Clark.