Even with the uncertainty plaguing the 2020-2021 soccer season, it was a known fact that the classic Tigard-Tualatin rivalry match-up would provide quite a show.
Two-time Three Rivers League (TRL) champion Tigard High School, in their third game of the season, went south to face off against last year’s league runner up, Tualatin High School, in a clash for this year’s league top spot.
After taking back-to-back league titles, Tigard graduated seven all-league selections. But, coming off a 6 – 0 shutout against Canby High School, it seemed that the young Tigard team was living up to their reputation.
“We’re a lot younger, smaller, but faster,” said Tigard goalkeeper Aidan Paul. “We’ve definitely all played together for a while, so we all have some good chemistry.”
Although Tualatin is a force to be reckoned with, holding a 12-4 season record last year and 12-3 the year prior – the team had a taste of the top and wanted the league crown this year, and badly.
Throughout the 2019 fall season, the two schools exchanged wins and persisted into the second round of playoffs. But official state rankings, playoffs and championships had been foregone for 2020-2021 Oregon high school sports. Accordingly, the number-one spot in the league became that much more valuable.
So, when these teams battled it out on the turf, Tualatin’s will pulled through and remained victorious by a 4 – 0 margin. But it wasn’t as dominating as the score would imply.
Defensively, the teams were at a match. Although Tualatin managed to breeze past Tigard’s midfield, the game was a back-and-forth affair.
“The scoreboard was a little different than we saw in the game,” said Tigard Head Coach Simonides Angelo Simonetti. “So, when you see four to zero, you think, ‘Oh yeah, they dominated the game.’ But it was back and forth in the game all the time. And they had five or six chances and they put four in the goal.”
While the first half lacked any attempt to score, someone had to manage a point eventually. And with Tualatin’s intensity ramping up, they made the first move. With 7:51 left in the first half, Tualatin’s Manny Mayarez neared the goal and took a pass from Cesar Jacintos on the right side. Mayarez seized the moment, scoring at close-range for a 1 – 0 lead.
Tualatin had battled their way up the past two years, only to come as far as second and third place. This year, they wanted a different result.
Building on their offensive advantage, Tualatin’s primary midfielder, Ben Augee, scored two more goals on Tigard in the second half while forward Remus Repcak grasped the last point of the game in a 4 – 0 Tualatin victory.
Tigard’s league record fell to 1-1 (2-2 overall) and the Wolves improved to 2-0 (2-2 overall) with the result.
Statistically, Tualatin made four of 14 attempted shots on the goal, with Tigard attempting only three.
For both rivals, the game and season were in question from the start. Originally scheduled to begin in late-December of last year and pushed to the end of February, the teams never knew for sure if they’d get the chance to play. Simonetti says that this had a grave impact on his team.
“You know, in two weeks we start, we’re in, we’re out, we stop, we come back, we have a season, we don’t have a season, we play, we don’t play, so the players don’t know what’s going on and don’t feel committed,” he said. “That was totally unproductive for everybody. It’s not what we were looking for, but I respect it and I think we have to do the best for everybody.”
After the tough rivalry face-off for the Tigers, they came into their next match only three days later and experienced a complete turnaround against Mountainside High School.
In this first-time match-up between these two teams, Tigard scored two in the first half and allowed none throughout, landing them in a pretty position before the real work began.
What awaited the Tigers was a season littered with tough TRL matchups and eventually finished up against Lake Oswego on March 31.
“We’re facing West Linn, we’re facing Oregon City, Lakeridge and Lake Oswego – they’ll be good games,” Simonetti said. “I’m still running, we’re still in the beginning, we’re still going.”