Pioneer boys back off, still whip Bucks

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PENDLETON — Alex Saldana finished with three goals and two assists, as the McLoughlin High School boys soccer team handled Pendleton, 8-1, here on Thursday.

Mac-Hi head coach Jose Garcia said he told Saldana to be more aggressive and consistent. That resulted in a hat trick and a pair of assists for the Pioneers (8-1, 2-0).

“We had the momentum going,” Garcia said. “We had good rhythm with passing. The other team couldn’t keep up with the passing.”

Mac-Hi fired off 33 shots, with Sergio Alvarez connecting on a pair of scores.

Pioneers Gerardo Robles, Rafael Villagomez and Evri Correra also finished with a goal apiece.

Garcia said he pulled his starting midfield early on, which aided Pendleton’s attack.

“They did pretty good, but we lost the momentum and the rhythm, and it wasn’t the same,” Garcia said of his second-string squad. “The other guys know how to pass and make runs. They know the passes have to be perfect.”

Still, the Pioneers’ defense only allowed one goal from a penalty kick late in the match.

Garcia credited his defense for constantly pressuring the ball.

Mac-Hi hosts Ontario Oct. 12.

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