Lady Foxes on verge of history: Compete for state soccer title

November 2016 Posted in Community, School, Sports

James DayThe Silverton girls soccer team is in uncharted territory. The Foxes played Saturday after Our Town’s presstime against La Salle Prep for the Class 5A title. It is the first state championship appearance in history for the program. And the route to get there was pretty amazing.

Silverton lost a shot at the Mid-Willamette Conference title with a 2-0 loss against Corvallis on Oct. 25. The defeat dropped the Foxes to third in the league and into the play-in round. That’s when the fun started. The No. 11 Foxes took out Springfield 4-0 in the play-in round, blanked No. 6 Marist 1-0 on a Hannah Munson goal and then won a pair of high-scoring matchups in Central Oregon against two of the state’s top-ranked teams. On Nov. 5 it was No 3 Bend that fell to the Foxes, 4-3, with dazzling freshman forward Paige Alexander scoring three goals and Munson adding the fourth on a free kick. Three days later Silverton returned to Bend and edged Summit by the same 4-3 score. Alexander scored twice, fed Isabelle Haselip for a score and Munson accounted for the fourth on a penalty kick. Foxes coach Gary Cameron told Our Town that approximately 150 Silverton students were on hand for the match. “The ladies felt like they had the home-field advantage,” Cameron said. “It was a great day to be supporting the orange and black!” Note: See the Dec. 1 Our Town for a report on the state championship match.

Cross country: Kennedy’s girls squad took fourth at the Class 3A-2A-1A state meet Nov. 5 at Lane Community College paced by the top 10 finishes of junior Kaylin Cantu and sophomore Alejandra LopezCantu was third in 19:09, a school record for the course by 38 seconds. Lopez, who was fifth in 19:31, also beat the previous mark of 19:47 by Eva Vaquera in 2005. Also scoring for Kennedy were Azaris Velazquez (49th, 22:54), Natividad Ortiz (61st, 23:59) and Clarissa Traeger (67th, 24:27. Also competing were Yesenia Gomez (72nd, 25:07) and Claire Seiler (85th, 29:42). The Kennedy boys team took 13th with 273 points. Leading the way for Kennedy were Noe Jines (27th, 17:53), Luke Hall (45th, 18:09), Nick Reidman (53rd, 18:20), Brandon Rendon (85th, 19:30), Jorge Espinoza (96th, 20:01) and Nick Spickelmier (100th, 20:25). “I was very proud of how both teams competed at state,” said coach Steve Ritchie. The girls finish was the second-highest of Ritchie’s sterling 19-year career. Cantu has finished 10th, seventh and third in her three years and Lopez went from eighth in 2015 to fifth this season.

The state meet performance followed a Special District 2 title for the girls (the 10th in Ritchie’s tenure) and a third-place finish for the boys. Ritchie was named district coach of the year. Watch out for next year, too. All eight girls runners will return.

Silverton also turned in a fine season. The Foxes’ boys squad won the Mid-Willamette Conference district championship and finished ninth at state. It was the third consecutive state meet appearance for Silverton and the first district win since 1991. Haile Stutzman was the top for Silverton at state at 27th in 16:56. “He had his best race of the season,” said coach Erik CrossAlso scoring for the Foxes were Hosea Catterall (48th, 17:28), Anthony Eubank (65th, 17:55), Will Sisley (72nd, 18:05) and Matthew Stravens (88th, 18:40). Also participating were Aiden Edsinga (90th, 18:50) and William Wright (92nd, 18:52). Catterall took third in the district meet, which the Foxes won by a single point. Jori Paradis was eighth overall to pace the girls team to a fourth-place finish.

Football: Kennedy, which advanced to the Class 2A championship game last season, looks poised to make another deep run in the playoffs. The Trojans, under second-year coach Joe Panuke, took an 8-1 No. 3 ranking into the Nov. 12 quarterfinal matchup with Toledo. JFK’x lone loss was a 15-7 defeat by Regis.

Kennedy rolled past Gaston 61-14 at Silverton’s McGinnis Field on Nov. 5 in the round of 16. The Trojans started fast with Bishop Mitchell returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown on the way to a 55-7 halftime lead. Kennedy made big plays throughout, with quarterback Brett Traeger scoring on a 76-yard run and adding a 79-yard TD pass to Emorej Lynk and a 69-yard scoring toss to Skyler Bizon.

Silverton, meanwhile, finished 7-3 after falling 35-27 on Nov. 4 to visiting Redmond in the Class 5A round of 16. It was the second nail-biter of the season between the two teams. Silverton came out on top 41-35 in a nonleague game Sept. 9. The Foxes came in on a five-game win streak. They were challenged by the Panthers’ option offense that racked up 347 yards rushing.  “We had seven games decided by one score,” Silverton coach John Mannion said. “I’ve got nothing but pride for these guys. The seniors provided great leadership from day one. As a high school teacher it’s been a privilege to work with this group.”

Freshmen shine: Silverton’s freshman football team turned in a perfect season, going 9-0 and winning the Mid-Willamette Conference. The Foxes opened with nonleague wins against Sandy (13-8) and Redmond (40-6) and did not let up once the league season began, beating Dallas 32-0, Lebanon 45-24, Crescent Valley 28-13, Corvallis 40-6, South Albany 41-14 and Central 46-22. Silverton closed with a 48-20 win vs. Woodburn. Silverton was coached by Josh Craig, Juan Benavidez, Keegan Davis, Jim Brueckner and Don VonWeller.

Volleyball: Silverton and Kennedy both fell just one match short of a state tournament appearance. The Foxes, who finished third in the MWC, defeated Thurston in the 5A play-in round but fell 3-1 at Summit on Oct. 29. Summit went on to finish fourth at state. Kennedy, meanwhile, tied for third in the Tri-River with East Linn Christian and fell 3-0 against Grant Union in the 2A playoffs. Grant Union ultimately finished third at state.

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