Trojan soccer team inches closer to playoff berth

By: Matt Long
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Following Oak Ridge’s 3-0 win over Christian Brothers on Wednesday, the Trojans need only a tie Monday at Cordova to earn a playoff berth. The Trojans are 7-1-2 in the Sierra Valley Conference with two games to play at Cordova on Monday and home against Vista del Lago on Wednesday. The Trojans played a strong game, particularly in the first half, against the Falcons on Wednesday, in a 3-0 victory. Oak Ridge dominated the action, but only managed a goal by Matt Mendoza just minutes before halftime. Kyran Bennett played the ball through to Mendoza, who broke through the defense and beat Falcon keeper Connor Lee. Oak Ridge could have had at least three or four goals in the first 10 minutes of the game, but weren’t able to capitalize. Ryan Abelia, Bennett, C.J. Hoversten, Lee Barclay and Austin Crouch combined to several glorious chances and either hit the crossbar or post, missed the net or Lee made a save. “We should have had four or five goals in the first six or seven minutes,” Oak Ridge coach Henry Reis said. “We were just pressing too hard and were anxious. Once we relaxed a bit, we were able to score some goals. Our defense was too relaxed. If they would have gotten involved, we could have scored more.” Oak Ridge scored twice in first portion of the second half to put the game away. Abelia crossed the ball to Bennett for one goal, as Bennett’s shot beat Lee to his right, while Crouch took a loose ball from Bennett’s throw, deked Lee and scored. Moments later Lee was knocked out cold after a collision with Oak Ridge’s Kyle Dickinson and had to be taken to the hospital. That made the rest of the game difficult to play. “After the injury that was in the kids’ head and it was hard for them to focus on the game,” Reis said. “We started to do too much individual stuff and that’s not our game. We’re a passing team.”