MILTON-FREEWATER — Mac-Hi took care of business Saturday with an eye on two key games this week as the Greater Oregon Conference girls soccer season draws to a close.
The Pioneers dominated winless Baker 3-0 Saturday at Shockman Field as Niomie Martinez, Alexis Breeding and Veronica Garcia scored second-half goals after a scoreless first half. The win upped Mac-Hi’s GOL record to 4-3 and its season record to 6-3-1.
The Pioneers host GOL-leading La Grande Tuesday at 3 p.m. before traveling to Ontario Saturday for the second time in as many weeks to wrap up the regular season. Victories in both games would assure Mac-Hi of a postseason playoff ticket.
La Grande, with a 6-1 GOL record, has all but clinched the league championship and a spot in the first round of the Oregon Class 3A state playoffs. Ontario, at 5-3, is a half-a-game ahead of Mac-Hi in the battle for second place and a home-field play-in game.
The chances of a third GOL team receiving a road play-in game are based on state rankings. Right now the Pioneers are ranked No. 13, which would be good enough to get a play-in nod, but Pioneers coach Martin Martinez would just as soon not take that uncertain route.
“We started our season slow, and we are just now picking it up,” Martinez said. “Our win against La Grande last Wednesday really got us going.”
The Pioneers pinned a 2-0 defeat on La Grande last week at Shockman Field, the Tigers’ only GOL defeat so far.
“We’re the only team to score two goals against La Grande this season,” Martinez said. “In fact, they’ve only allowed four goals all season.”
Ontario has been another story for the Pioneers. Mac-Hi lost to Ontario 5-1 early in the season at home and then 3-2 last week on the Tigers’ home field.
“The first game we had five injuries,” Martinez said. “We played much better against them in Ontario, and that gives us confidence going into this week.”
Niomie Martinez’s goal 15 minutes into the second half of Saturday’s game was unassisted as she dribbled the middle of the field and scored from 20 yards out. Astrid Hernandez made a crossing-pass assist to Breeding for Mac-Hi’s second goal with about 20 minutes remaining in the game. Two minutes later, Kariss Carrillo was credited with an assist with a chip pass to Garcia, who converted with her left foot for the Pioneers’ third and final goal.