Pioneers shut out La Grande

Mac-Hi's Christian Torres hits a penalty kick in the first half of the game with La Grande Tuesday afternoon. The Pioneers won the match 3-0, as Torres netted two scores.

Mac-Hi's Christian Torres hits a penalty kick in the first half of the game with La Grande Tuesday afternoon. The Pioneers won the match 3-0, as Torres netted two scores.

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MILTON-FREEWATER — If you outshoot an opponent 18-0 in a soccer game, the expectation is that you will win — and win big.

That was the case here Tuesday afternoon as the McLoughlin High boys team handled Greater Oregon League foe La Grande with three second-half goals and pitched a shutout on the defensive end.

The 3-0 win for the Pioneers wasn’t as easy as it sounds.

Mac-Hi did outshoot its challengers 10-0 in the first half, but it meant little as the Pioneers were unable to finish and score a goal the opening 40 minutes.

“First half, we were just focusing on passing the ball and not looking up at the goal,” Mac-Hi coach Jose Garcia said. “We were thinking possession too much and not looking up enough to score at the goal.

“We were controlling the ball, just not finishing,” he said.

“The second half we got more aggressive and I told them to take them 1-on-1 if they needed to in order to score. They did some of that and it worked.”

Two of the three goals came while dribbling inside the goalie box and being fouled while taking a defender 1-on-1.

Mac-Hi’s Christian Torres dribbled inside the box and was cut out at the legs on two occasions. Fouls were awarded and free kicks on La Grande’s keeper Jake Girard was given to Mac-Hi.

Torres took advantage of both opportunities, finding the back of the net for his two goals. He also assisted on the other Pioneer goal.

Torres had a corner kick early in the second half, and set up Moises Manon for a goal. Manon took the grounded pass from Torres and booted it slightly off a Tiger defender, but then regained possession and knocked it past Girard for the score.

After Torres’ all-around game as one of the team’s midfielders, he deflected the attention away from himself.

“I’ve still got to step up more and get more assists for my teammates, who are playing as forwards,” he said.

The humble Torres also spoke of how well his opponents played.

“La Grande is a really good team,” Torres said. “They move the ball around a lot and pass the ball well. They spread out and are tough opponents to play.”

Garcia said his team needs to get better and keep improving as the year progresses. He said he was happy with the defense and that the offense could still get better.

The Pioneers (10-1-1) have two GOL road games against Baker and Ontario on Saturday and Oct. 26 to close the league slate before traveling to Riverside for a non-league affair on Oct. 29.

Mac-Hi currently is ranked No. 6 in the state for Class 4A teams.

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