MILTON-FREEWATER — Forward Oscar Flores, assisted by defenseman Lupito Salazar, scored the game’s only goal as Mac-Hi knocked off the previously undefeated Phoenix Pirates, 1-0, in a Class 4A state quarterfinal game Saturday afternoon at Shockman Field.
The pass from Salazar, kicked from midfield, soared high in the air toward the Phoenix goal. A Pirate defender closed on the ball, but it slipped between his legs.
Flores won the ball, giving himself a 1-on-1 with the goalie. His shot, a low liner placed perfectly in the right corner of the net, came with just 15 minutes left to play.
"This was the best game that we’ve played so far. It was against a tough opponent and a good challenge," Flores said. "It was tough to score against their defense because they are the best in state. They’ve allowed only one goal all season before today."
After Mac-Hi took its 1-0 lead, the Pirates mounted a challenge, taking five shots — two on goal — in the final 15 minutes.
A Phoenix free kick from 30 yards out, taken by Geoff Jensen with 10 minutes remaining, was batted away by Pioneer goalkeeper Jessie Saldana.
The loose ball was corralled by Miguel Diaz and quickly booted back toward the Pioneer goal. Saldana punched the ball away from the top right corner of the goal.
"We went with the bigger goalie, Jessie Saldana, today to keep them from scoring," coach Jose Garcia said. "Francisco Flores played the last game at goalkeeper and he had an amazing game, too. They are both great goalies."
Diaz took three more shots for Phoenix before the end of the game, one that hit the top crossbar and two that sailed far from goal.
Three yellow cards were given in the first half to the Pirates. Omar Iboa received one for a high kick, Diaz for interference with the goalie and Jensen for tripping.
Phoenix was unable to get a shot off in the first half.
The Pioneers had six shots, one on goal, during the first 40 minutes.
"In the first half, we needed to score and we couldn’t find the net," Garcia said. "At halftime, I told my players that we were the better team, and that we needed to get it done, to finish."
In the second half, the Pioneers fired seven shots with two on goal.
The Pirates took five shots with three on goal.
Phoenix entered the game as the state’s No. 1-ranked team.
"We played good defensively all game long and so did Phoenix," Garcia said. "Our strikers need to play better together and not split apart. Other than that, we played great."
The Pioneers advance to the state semifinals. They play the winner of Molalla-Seaside on Tuesday.