While school has been in session at Tigard High School for a few weeks, athletes on fall sports teams have been hard at work since the summer.
Here’s a look around at how the opening of the sports season has gone for Tigard High School’s fall sports teams:
The Tigers football team is off to a 3-0 start under interim coach Ken Feist, and it’s thanks in part to some big plays on defense.
In a season-opening 27-7 win against North Medford, the Tigard defense had five turnovers, including two interceptions returned for touchdowns. In Tigard’s 20-14 win in Week 2 against Sandy, the Tigers had four interceptions, including a late one to clinch the win by Nicco Simonetti deep in Tigers territory.
One of the early standouts on defense has been junior Colt Ness, who has three interceptions in his first two games playing varsity, including one of those interceptions returned for a touchdown in Week 1.
“It builds not only my confidence, but the team’s confidence in me, which is great,” he said. “When we all trust each other, we’re going to be hard to score on.”
Owen Wright had the other interception for a touchdown in the first game of the year. While it ended up being a pretty rainy night, the offense did score for Tigard, as well, with Simonetti catching a touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Feist. The quarterback also ran in a score early in the fourth quarter.
In its second game, Tigard looked like it was going to cruise to another win, but costly penalties kept things close. Two touchdowns that went for more than 50 yards were called back due to penalties by the Tiger’s offense.
“We’ve got to clean that up,” Ken Feist said. “We left way too many points on the board. That was not a very clean game.”
Simonetti agreed, although he said he’s confident the offense will turn it around.
“I’ve got no worries on our offense,” he said. “I trust every single guy out there. It’s just a few minor changes here and there.”
Trevin Laird, who had an interception and two tackles for loss on defense, had one of the long touchdowns called back. The junior caught a pass deep in Tigard’s own territory, cut to the center of the field, and then out-ran the entire defense for what would’ve been an 80-yard score.
The offense in the second game was led by senior running back Christian Warner, who punched in two touchdowns on the ground.
“He’s got great speed,” Ken Feist said. “He gets out in open spaces, and he’s difficult to catch up to. He’s a track kid.”
Warner’s second touchdown broke a 14-14 tie with a few minutes left in the game, but Simonetti missed the extra point. As Sandy was driving to potentially tie the game, he was sure his missed extra point was going to cost Tigard the game. He also knew if he had a chance to make up for the kick on defense, he was going to do everything he could to get the win.
He said that’s the reason the Tigard defense has been off to such a strong start this year: everyone on defense knows their role.
“It’s all about trust. We have a lot of trust,” he said. “Everyone out there does their job and doesn’t try to do anyone else’s. It’s us working together and communicating.”
Ken Feist said his team is leaning on the defense too much, and because of their play this year, his team is 2-0. However, he said the defense needs help to keep Tigard’s winning ways.
“They’re performing, but it’s not sustainable,” he said. “We’ve got to put our defense in better situations. We’ve got to clean things up with penalties and offensively.”
The Tigard girls soccer team is off to a 5-0 start this season, and Coach Scott Eggleston said that while there aren’t too many new faces on the Tigers this year, the team has a new look – an offensive one.
“If one player doesn’t have it, the others are right behind them,” he said. “It’s great for us because we’ve had some trouble scoring in the past, and to come up with 10 goals four games in, we’ll take that.”
A bulk of the scoring has come from McKenna Eggleston, who has four goals in the first five games, and Claire Masters, who has three goals. Hailey White has two goals so far this year.
McKenna Eggleston also has three assists on the season, tied for the team lead with Oliva Jirles and Gianelly Gargurevich. Caris Aster has one goal on the year, and Katia Pender has a goal and an assist.
One area that hasn’t surprised Scott Eggleston so far this year is the stellar play from his defense, which he called one of the best in the state. That defense is anchored by a 1-2 punch in goal by senior Maya Hawks, who was named first-team Three Rivers League last year, and junior Kylee Sekiguchi.
“I can play either one, and they’re both starters on any team,” he said. “Starters on any team.”
Through five games, Scott Eggleston has played each goalie a half in each game. He said he felt it was important to get Sekiguchi some good game experience, and felt this was a part of the schedule where he could do that. It has worked so far, as they’ve given up a combined two goals in five games.
He’s hopeful the surging offense will keep up through league play this year. Last year, Tigard shut down opposing offenses in Three Rivers League play, but ended up tying more often than winning due to issues putting the ball in the net.
“I’m confident in our defense, and I’m confident in our goalies,” he said. “Now we’ve got more of an offensive threat. With our defense being so solid, I can bring some girls up. They have trust. When your defense is locked down, it opens up the top for all your forwards and your midfielders.”
The Tigers are off to a 1-4 start in what has been a season filled with some high-scoring games. In their lone win so far this year, Tigard beat Century High School, 4-2, in a non-league game at home. In their losses, the Tigers have given up five goals twice, eight goals, and four goals.
Tigard has youth on its side, as seniors make up roughly one-third of the roster. Some of that youth has already been recognized for their play last year, so it certainly seems within reason that Tigard can improve as the season moves along.
Some of those returning players highlighted last year were sophomore Kelvin Dwyer, who was named to the Three Rivers League second-team forwards last season as a freshman, and Senior Pedro Perez, who was named to the all-league third-team forwards last year.
The Tigard volleyball team has jumped out to a 5-4 start on the season thanks in part to some heavy hitting from senior Amber Walker. Last year, Walker was named to the Three Rivers League first-team as an outside hitter, and set a school record with 321 kills.
She has kept up the record-setting this year, scoring school records for most kills in a game with 26 against North Salem. Walker also scored a school record for most digs in a game with 44 earlier this season.
Walker isn’t the only Tiger setting school records at the moment. Alexa Anderson and Walker both tied for the school record with five blocks in a game. Isabel Williams set the school record for assists in a season last year with 530, and holds the record for most assists in a game with 50.
The school records only go back to 2017 when the current coaching staff took over the program, and in that time, the most wins Tigard has finished a season with is seven. With more than 10 matches to go in the season, the Tigers have plenty of chances to surpass that win total.
The Tigard girls had a dominant showing at the CVC Meet No. 1 in Salem earlier this year, scoring a first-place team finish. The Tigers were led at the meet by Sabine Kim, who finished first in the 5,000 meter with a time of 18:35.5. Chloe Thompson, Sydney Joule, and Makaila Rust rounded out a Tigard-heavy top-5 by finishing third, fourth, and fifth, respectively.
The boys finished second as a team at the meet, with Paul Hretcanu scoring an individual second-place finish with this time of 16:26.1. Tate Woodward and Caleb Cate finished top-10, as well, coming in ninth and tenth, respectively.
The Tigers had a strong showing at a home meet, with the boys and girls teams both finishing first in the 5,000 meters. For the boys, Hretcanu earned a first-place finish, followed by Jack Mclean in second. Other top-10 finishes for Tigard came from Tate Woodward, who finished sixth, Sergio Tapia, who placed seventh, Woodward (ninth), and Cate (tenth).
On the girls side, Kim scored another top finish in the 5,000 meters. Thompson came in third, followed by Leah Heidt, who earned a fourth-place finish. Rust and Joule were the other Tigers to finish top-10, with Rust coming in sixth and Joule finishing seventh.