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Oak Ridge tops McClatchy, 1-0

By: Matt Long
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Oak Ridge High’s varsity boys’ soccer team escaped the first-round of the Division II playoffs with a 1-0 win over McClatchy on Friday. The Trojans didn’t play particularly well, according to coach Henry Reis, but capitalized on a penalty kick in the 30th minute of the game and that’s all they needed. “We were off on everything: rhythm, first touches; we just didn’t play our best today,” Reis said. “McClatchy is a very physical team and that affected us. Also with missing two defenders, we struggled a bit in the back.” Oak Ridge played without defenders Ben Schowengerdt and Mat Dastmalchi, who were replaced in the starting lineup by Austin Emmett and Jaelen Baluyut, respectively. Schowengerdt broke both of his arms in practice on Thursday, while Dastmalchi couldn’t play because of a pair of yellow cards he earned in Oak Ridge’s 6-2 loss to Vista del Lago in the regular-season finale last week. The Trojans controlled the ball in the first half and had opportunities ranging from decent to low-percentage shots, but couldn’t put the ball in the net. McClatchy keeper Nigel Brady did a good job in net stopping all the balls he should have stopped, making a few diving saves in the process. In the 30th minute, however, Emmett was taken down in the box by Diego Gomez and Mendoza drilled the ensuing penalty kick in the net to Brady’s left and Oak Ridge led 1-0. McClatchy had the better of the second half, as the Lions picked up their intensity, while the Trojans looked a bit unsure of themselves. Brady made a few more big saves, while the Trojans failed to capitalize on a few glorious opportunities, while Oak Ridge keeper Teddy Soloski did his part in keeping the ball out of the net. “We played alright, but it certainly wasn’t our best,” Mendoza said. “It was pretty ugly at times and we were sloppy. We know we’ll have to play a lot better to beat Granite Bay.” The Trojans advance to the second round of the playoffs on Wednesday, when they face the defending champions. “They’re a very good team that passes the ball well,” Reis said. “We can’t play like we did today. Hopefully, we’ll put it together and have a better showing on Wednesday.”