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While most Taft 7-12 students were enjoying a break from school activities during spring break last week, several Tiger athletes were out on the field competing.

Girls Soccer

In a season that features a very limited schedule, playing many of the same opponents multiple times, the Taft 7-12 girls soccer team was able to use that to their advantage on March 22 when they faced Yamhill-Carlton for the second time in a row.

The Taft Lady Tigers dropped a close 2-1 battle with YC on March 19 as they played without senior leader Avery Nightengale. With Nightengale back in the lineup last week, Taft had that extra edge in the rematch. Both teams went scoreless in the first half as teams began to get a feel for each other.

“I made a few adjustments on offense at half and the kids executed them to perfection,” head coach Joey Arce-Torres said. “About 13 minutes into the second half, Chloe Peterson hit a perfect through ball to the sprinting Nightingale for her to hit the back of the net.”

The goal by Nightengale was not an unfamiliar sight as she has scored in every match she’s played in this season. Arce-Torres said the team also had a great effort from the defense courtesy of junior Arianna Moralez and freshmen Miranda Hankins and Diana Lucas.

“Our defense kept a superb YC offense from finding much success which frustrated them to no end,” Arce-Torres said. “Team defense was huge which complimented our goaltending. Multi-talented junior Nicole Reyes kept YC scoreless, probably for the first time in years.”

Taft would tack on an unassisted goal by junior Chloe Peterson late in the game to ensure the Tigers’ first win of the season, 2-1.

“The kids deserved this win and in this style,” Arce-Torres said. “I am proud of each of them and know in my heart, this win was a big one. Trust each other and just do your job, everything else will take care of itself.”

The girls squad was right back in action on March 24 when they welcomed Dayton High School to Lincoln City. The Lady Tigers used the momentum of their first win on Monday to their advantage and battled a strong Dayton team that is so far undefeated in nine games.

Taft scored in the first half when Hankins launched a long hit that bounced over the Dayton goalkeepers head. Taft then used their stingy defense to keep Dayton scoreless until halftime.

With less than a minute left in the match, the Pirates received an advantageous call which gave them a free kick outside the box.

“To our dismay, with the additional traffic in the box, our goalie couldn’t see the ball as clearly as usual and the ball snuck in,” Arce-Torres said. “The match ended 20 seconds later.”

Ending in a 1-1 tie, the Taft Tigers accomplished something only two other teams have this season against Dayton: score a goal.

“They truly dodged a bullet,” Arce-Torres said. “We felt some disappointment but realized we had played a great match against a very tough unit. We may not always come out with the victory, but no one will ever question our toughness or our sportsmanship!”

Taft will close out their season this week with a home game against Amity/Perrydale on March 31. That game is slated to start at 3:30 p.m.

Boys Soccer

The Taft 7-12 boys soccer team knew they were in for a tough matchup when they faced Dayton on the road on March 26.

The Pirates, who had won four games already this year were coming off a season in which they had to forfeit most of their games in 2019 due to an eligibility ruling. Last Friday’s matchup proved to be a great back and forth game according to head coach Ryan Ulicni.

Taft gained an early lead, but Dayton stayed on the attack and tied the game at halftime.

“They managed to get a goal to take the lead late in the game,” Ulicni said. “We never fully recovered from getting behind. I tried to adjust and it seemed to get worse. These boys give their everything every game. Our team was better than the final score… No shortage of effort by anyone.”

Taft ended up losing 4-2 when the dust settled, despite two goals from senior William Calderon. The Tigers will face Newport this week for the third time this season on March 31. That game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. The Tigers are 2-0 against the Cubs this season.

Football

For the first time this year, the Taft Tiger football team had a full contact game.

After spending the last two weeks off due to COVID-19 protocols, the Tigers played an 8-man game against Lincoln County foe Waldport on March 27.

Although they may have been a smaller squad, the visiting Irish may have had an upper hand on Taft as they play 8-man football regularly at the 1A level. In a high scoring affair, Waldport took a 68-54 win over the Tigers.

Taft will have two more games in this three game season. On April 2, they will travel to Newport for a game with the Cubs and close out the season April 9 against a visiting Corbett High School. Both games will start at 7 p.m.

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