Following games last week against Dayton High and Blanchet Catholic, the Taft 7-12 High School Tigers boys and girls soccer teams are preparing to take on Gervais High in away play later this week.

Boys team

The Taft High boys soccer team’s season was off to a rough start following 2-0 season opening defeat to Newport on Sept. 3 in at-home play. But the players rallied Sept. 9 when they returned to the field, blanking Dayton in a 4-0 victory.

The boys’ success — bringing the team to a 1-1 season standing and 1-0 in league play — was led largely by Seamus Graham’s two goals; single scores by Gabe Arce-Torres and Aaron Galvan; and the stellar goaltending of Sammy Islas.

Following the success against Dayton, Taft High played against Blanchet Catholic on Friday, Sept. 11 in another league game. The boys secured a tie, something coach Nicole James called a success.

“We played great and left with a hard-earned tie,” James said. “To get a tie playing at their house is a real victory for us. We are looking forward to playing them at home (on Oct. 6).”

Going into home play against Western Mennonite High School on Tuesday, Sept. 15 and play against Gervais on Friday, Sept. 9 in away action, James said the boys team will need to draw on past experience.

“We know each game will be tough,” she said. “Every team in the league is a beast to get a win from. Western always plays us tough and Gervais is extremely physical. We expect them to play very hard, and I am sure they will remember that we beat them to go to state last year.”

James said the team has yet to play a game this season with all the players in the positions she expected them to be in at the season’s start, but she expected that would change during play this week.

Still, that hasn’t hindered the team’s success.

“This year the kids are a better team — we aren’t just counting on a few players to win the game,” she said. “Any player can make a play or score a goal to lead us to victory.

“I am very excited how this season has started and can’t wait to see these kids grow and reach our goals throughout the season,” James said.

Girls team

The Taft High Tigers girls soccer team started its season with a 1-1 tie at Newport, but followed with two losses to Dayton and Blanchet Catholic on Sept. 8 and 10, respectively.

Dayton’s 2-0 shutout in a District 2 conference game left the girls actively working to secure their first victory of the season, as well as their first victory under new coach Joey Arce-Torres.

Arce-Torres said defense by Junior Sarah Davis and offense by teammates Lexi French and Naomi Rini show the team has skills, but now is the time to actively work on them.

Play against Blanchet Catholic left the girls slowed by high temperatures and the team’s first encounter with a grass field, he said. The action led Blanchet Catholic to an 8-0 victory.

The girls were hoping to rally for an at-home win over Western Mennonite School on Monday, Sept. 14. Scores hadn’t been reported as of press time.

The girls will play against Gervais High School on Thursday, Sept. 17.

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