ORHS Girls Soccer Completes Season

The Oak Ridge girls soccer team concluded their season with a 6-1 loss to The Woodlands Tuesday night and finished up with a respectable 8-10-8 overall record with their district mark being 1-7-4.

Coach Collins knew his team would finish one game out of the playoffs so he unloaded the bench on senior night.

“Our goals per game allowed was 1.38 and our goals per game scored was .88. We know we have to score more to be more successful next year. We will improve and we will be in the playoffs this time next year because we really have two positions to replace and I feel like we have and will get players that are ready to step into those positions.”

If you have had the pleasure to speak with Coach Collins, you know there isn’t a more sincere individual out there. Count on the girls making the playoffs next year.

Comments to Doug Sarant at doug@oakridgenow.com

 

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Doug Sarant, Oak Ridge Now

Born and raised in New England, Doug promises he got to Texas as fast as he could. He earned the much needed "piece of paper" from Sam Houston State, proving to himself he could start and finish something. Doug's interests include coaching and playing any sport and still plays lacrosse competitively. He also enjoys going to dinner theaters, though he complains there just aren't enough of them in the area. Doug was brought up in a cultured environment, having suffered through dozens of symphonies and operas with his way too over-educated mother. At the end of the day, Doug is just a dad and husband and claims to be good at both.

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Girls Soccer Ties The Woodlands for First Time

About a week ago, the Oak Ridge girls soccer team did something that a soccer team has never done before at Oak Ridge High School. They tied state power, The Woodlands, 0-0.

Now, you’re thinking we here at Oak Ridge Now have had a problem in the past with the Smallville type thinking that existed in this area when Oak Ridge entered the ranks of 5A. We believe, like you do now that we should go into every contest thinking we can win.

The “Oh, we weren’t supposed to win but we kind of made it close so it’s all good” mentality is a thing of the past now and is only good for when you are trying to make yourself regurgitate.

Well, I am making an exception. Our awesome friends at Woodlands Online had it right when their headline read, “Oak Ridge shocks The Woodlands”. Coach Dina Graves of The Woodlands is a friend of mine and I’ve been following her team for years. They are an excellent team and have been for her entire tenure at the big school. They don’t just have a few good players, every single one of their players is awesome and they play on the best select soccer teams this area has to offer. Not only that, but those girls go 100% of every minute of every game. I’m not saying every team over there plays like this because it depends on the coach. Rest assured both of their soccer teams do.

Coach Graves had some nice things to say about the Oak Ridge girls soccer program. “Hey, I am good with our tie. We took 27 shots to their 1 and it is not that we played bad, they just implemented their game plan to a tee!!

“I respect Coach Collins very much, he is a knowledgeable coach that does his homework and you could not ask for a more dedicated person to the girls soccer program at Oak Ridge. We have sat at games that we were both scouting talking x’s and o’s and also discussing our programs and the ups and downs of coaching in general. The truth is that we both “love” our jobs and our players and just want them to perform and execute our game plans.

“I told my girls that we can not walk out with our heads down because they had their backs against the wall and needed to “not” lose as they were trying to get into the playoffs. We on the other hand were working to put ourselves into a position to try and get a share of the district title with our next show down with Kingwood. But, like I told the girls, everything happens for a reason and tonight Oak Ridge needed that outcome more than we needed a victory!!”

The Oak Ridge girls have talent but they are not nearly to the level of The Woodlands. Coach Collins and the girls are working towards getting to that level but they have a ways to go. I’m not being rude, just honest. For these girls to hold this statewide power to zero goals was a monumental feat!

So, what has to go on for something like this to happen? It has something to do with what went on at the 1980 Winter Olympics when our college hockey players beat the best hockey team (The Soviets) ever assembled …These girls played with hearts the size of soccer balls … They believed in Coach Collins’ system and they executed. Both of these items have to go together for success on any kind of team.

It really was going on for Oak Ridge that night. We’re going to let the ever-enthusiastic Coach Collins have his say because, well, he deserves it:

“It has been a longtime since any soccer team at this school has tied The Woodlands or achieved any kind of result, so we are very fired up about getting this result against them. The Woodlands had the better of play but Katherine Tesno was a star in goal and really turned a lot of heads with her performance. She had at least eight very nice saves and was the sole reason we were able to stay in the game the first half.

In the second half, we changed our formation from a 3-5-2 to a 3-6-1 and really limited the dangerous shots that they had against us. Jade Sorensen was our lone forward up top but did a nice job of countering and putting some pressure on the Woodlands D. She almost won the game for us with a free kick in the last ten minutes, but The Woodlands keeper got a hand on the shot that was headed.

Lauren Gelormini was fantastic in the back playing defense. Nadine Berns suffered a broken nose during the game but yet stayed to root her team on before going to the hospital. She played a very tough game in the middle for us. Kamri Brown, Claire Schuman and Sherridan Vincent also played great for us. Dari Edens had the assignment of “man marking” their best player ( best forward in District ) during the game and she kept her from scoring.

Because of this result if we beat Lufkin Friday night we have a shot at the post season. It was Katherine’s second straight shut out. She shut down Atascocita 1-0 in the previous game and has established herself as one of the best keepers in the area.”

We blew some games we should have won early but we are really coming together right now behind the play of Katherine Tesno.”

Since this great effort last week, the girls were defeated by Lufkin, 2-0 to dim their playoff hopes. However, nothing can take away from the effort this team put together against a mammoth like The Woodlands.

This complete effort by the Lady War Eagles proves a few things … It doesn’t matter what people think will happen in any particular game … It doesn’t matter what the stat sheet reads before any particular game … It doesn’t matter who plays for what select team or who is going where to play in college … All that matters is that you go all out every second of every game you play. If athletes do this, when they look in the mirror after a contest, they will like what they see.

I think it’s safe to say these Lady War Eagles like what they see.

Comments to Doug Sarant at doug@oakridgenow.com.

 

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Doug Sarant, Oak Ridge Now

Born and raised in New England, Doug promises he got to Texas as fast as he could. He earned the much needed "piece of paper" from Sam Houston State, proving to himself he could start and finish something. Doug's interests include coaching and playing any sport and still plays lacrosse competitively. He also enjoys going to dinner theaters, though he complains there just aren't enough of them in the area. Doug was brought up in a cultured environment, having suffered through dozens of symphonies and operas with his way too over-educated mother. At the end of the day, Doug is just a dad and husband and claims to be good at both.

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Near Wins Frustrate Lady War Eagles

The Lady War Eagle soccer team is now 7-6-5 and 0-3-2 in district. Coach JC Collins expresses his opinion as to the team’s activity of late,  “It is very frustrating because we still have not played our best soccer and we continue to be inconsistent.”

Two Friday’s ago, Oak Ridge traveled to The Woodlands and gave them a great game but lost 2 to 1. Tk Keith scored with 10 minutes to go and the girls had other chances to get back in the game but just couldn’t find the back of the net.

Next up was an away tilt in Siberia where Oak Ridge only gave up three shots to Lufkin, of which all were re-starts, outshooting them 15-3, and still came up on the short end again, losing 2-0.

Coach Collins sorts through the chaos, “The bottom line is we are playing good soccer but just not finishing our chances and despite playing better on defense, we still have about one minute out of 80 of head scratching plays that cost us goals and games.”

Starting with Kingwood on Tuesday, Collins expects the team to begin creating more chances in hopes the Lady War Eagles fortunes are turned around. “I expect us to be the ones that finish opportunities and then get back into the district race, Collins said. “We can still make the playoffs, and the next two weeks are crucial for us.”

The March 1st game against Conroe will be youth soccer night at home as the team will honor last years 7th grade York team before the game. Collins likes the future of Lady War Eagle Soccer and believes these York athletes will have a huge impact next year.

The team needs three wins to get into the dance and they are due for a run. Coach Collins agrees, “Nadine Berns has been fantastic lately in the middle and getting Lauren Gelormini back from injury will help stablize the back. So hopefully here we go.”

The girls play at Kingwood on Tuesday night.

Comments to Doug Sarant at doug@oakridgenow.com

Doug Sarant, Oak Ridge Now

Born and raised in New England, Doug promises he got to Texas as fast as he could. He earned the much needed "piece of paper" from Sam Houston State, proving to himself he could start and finish something. Doug's interests include coaching and playing any sport and still plays lacrosse competitively. He also enjoys going to dinner theaters, though he complains there just aren't enough of them in the area. Doug was brought up in a cultured environment, having suffered through dozens of symphonies and operas with his way too over-educated mother. At the end of the day, Doug is just a dad and husband and claims to be good at both.

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D Shines, But Boys Drop Close One to The Woodlands

The War Eagles soccer team lost a hard fought game to the Woodlands Friday night by the slimmest of margins, 1-0.

Most of the game was controlled by The Woodlands, but Oak Ridge had their chances to score. A goal in the first half by Steven Gelormini  was disallowed due to an off-sides call and Oak Ridge had a few chances in the second half but could not find the back of the net.

The War Eagle defense was compact and composed under the pressure which frustrated the Highlanders into making several  mistakes. Defensively, Oak Ridge was led by Junior goal keeper Erik Grace who had multiple key saves to include one which would have  made any ESPN highlight reel.

The offensive side of the game was led by Martin Gonzalez, Jose Mendoza and new arrival, Steven Gelormini.

The War Eagles seek to get back on track when they travel to Lufkin on Tuesday. The following week they will wrap up the first round of  district action against Kingwood.

Comments to Doug Sarant at doug@oakridgenow.com

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Doug Sarant, Oak Ridge Now

Born and raised in New England, Doug promises he got to Texas as fast as he could. He earned the much needed "piece of paper" from Sam Houston State, proving to himself he could start and finish something. Doug's interests include coaching and playing any sport and still plays lacrosse competitively. He also enjoys going to dinner theaters, though he complains there just aren't enough of them in the area. Doug was brought up in a cultured environment, having suffered through dozens of symphonies and operas with his way too over-educated mother. At the end of the day, Doug is just a dad and husband and claims to be good at both.

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Mistakes Thwart Young Lady War Eagles

The Lady War Eagles soccer team lost to Conroe at Conroe Saturday, 2-0.

Oak Ridge had possession of the ball more than Conroe, and it could be safely stated they outplayed the Lady Tigers. However, the game is won by the team who is more productive when in possession of the ball regardless of actual time of possession. It also helps to make less mistakes.

Coach Collins describes some of the action, “At the end of the first half they had a restart off of a foul with two minutes left and they served it into our back line. Our centerback misjudged it a bit and it went off her head towards our goal. Our keeper, Laurin Engle hesitated coming out and one of the Conroe players (Jordan Partain) beat her to the ball and headed it over her into the net.”

Oak Ridge tried to come back in the second half but the Lady Tigers scored again as a result of an Oak Ridge mis-hit on a goal kick which went right to a Conroe forward who then beat the Lady War Eagle’s centerback who tried to make a diving defensive stop for naught as the ball found the back of the War Eagle’s goal.

Oak Ridge’s Jade Sorenson had a breakaway with twenty minutes left but the Conroe keeper came out and made a great save. The Lady War Eagles had some other attempts on goal but could never connect and get back in the game.

Nadine Berns had four nice shots on goal in the first half but the Conroe keeper was ON this day.

Coach Collins likes his team’s chances the rest of the way, “We are a pretty young team so I expect us to have ups and downs all season. We will look to bounce back from this Tuesday at home against Atascocita.”

From what it looks like so far, seeing that Oak Ridge is a young team they will make their fair share of mistakes. If they can minimize these mistakes, this Conroe game is the kind of game that should at least end in a tie, if not a win for the Lady War Eagles.

Comments to Doug Sarant at Doug@oakridgenow.com.

Doug Sarant, Oak Ridge Now

Born and raised in New England, Doug promises he got to Texas as fast as he could. He earned the much needed "piece of paper" from Sam Houston State, proving to himself he could start and finish something. Doug's interests include coaching and playing any sport and still plays lacrosse competitively. He also enjoys going to dinner theaters, though he complains there just aren't enough of them in the area. Doug was brought up in a cultured environment, having suffered through dozens of symphonies and operas with his way too over-educated mother. At the end of the day, Doug is just a dad and husband and claims to be good at both.

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Lady War Eagles Settle for 1-1 Tie on a Frigid Night

Sydney Vincent sent a corner kick to the back post that Jade Sorenson put in with a perfect back post run enabling Oak Ridge to come away with a 1-1 tie with College Park on a frigid Tuesday night at War Eagle field.

College Park had strong wind at their back in the first half as Oak Ridge hunkered down and played solid defense. The CP goal came on a defensive mistake as one of the Lady Cavalier forwards got in the seam of the Oak Ridge zone and was unmarked. Katherine Tesno, who was excellent in goal for the duration of the evening was able to get a hand on the shot but was unable to save it.

Unfortunately for Oak Ridge, the wind died down in the second half when they had it but were still able to continue to get several good chances but could not finish the deal.

Kamri Brown gave CP fits up top and put good pressure on their back line the entire second half. Oak Ridge had another corner where Brown got the ball at her feet on the front post but could not connect.

With five minutes remaining, Oak Ridge had a direct kick inside of the box but once again the girls could not strike pay dirt.

Despite the College Park speed and size advantage at midfield, the girls were able to contain the Lady Cavaliers defensively and put pressure on them by countering. Gabby Esquivel had the game of her life defensively and Claire Schuman was outstanding in the middle.

Coach JC Collins was happy with the way his team played, ” I am telling you these girls can play with anyone and it’s because they give maximum effort every second they are on the field. You know what, though? We can play better and I know we can take them next time.”

The Lady War Eagles (7-3-4, 0-0-1) next play on Friday at Conroe at 7pm.

Doug Sarant, Oak Ridge Now

Born and raised in New England, Doug promises he got to Texas as fast as he could. He earned the much needed "piece of paper" from Sam Houston State, proving to himself he could start and finish something. Doug's interests include coaching and playing any sport and still plays lacrosse competitively. He also enjoys going to dinner theaters, though he complains there just aren't enough of them in the area. Doug was brought up in a cultured environment, having suffered through dozens of symphonies and operas with his way too over-educated mother. At the end of the day, Doug is just a dad and husband and claims to be good at both.

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Wet, Cold Do War Eagle Soccer No Favors

The War Eagle boys soccer team got off to a slow start in district as they took one on the chin losing to College Park 5-1.

The game also got off to slow start due to the wet, cold conditions. After several early misses by College Park, the War Eagles Martin Gonzalez struck the post on a  counter attack which seemed to wake up the Cavaliers. At the half, CP had a 2-0 lead.

The second half was more of the same with CP racking up the possession and shots ongoal. Oak Ridge’s Jose Mendoza was able to get a late goal to eliminate the shutout.

Oak Ridge is now 0-1 in district and 3-4-1 overall as they hope to get back on track on Friday in hosting Conroe at War Eagle field.

1    2   — total

College Park   2    3   —  5

Oak Ridge      1    0   —  1

CP: Espindola, Montono, Case, Schweser and Ruhe.

OR: Jose Mendoza assisted by Martin Gonzalez

Comments to Doug Sarant at doug@oakridgenow.com

Doug Sarant, Oak Ridge Now

Born and raised in New England, Doug promises he got to Texas as fast as he could. He earned the much needed "piece of paper" from Sam Houston State, proving to himself he could start and finish something. Doug's interests include coaching and playing any sport and still plays lacrosse competitively. He also enjoys going to dinner theaters, though he complains there just aren't enough of them in the area. Doug was brought up in a cultured environment, having suffered through dozens of symphonies and operas with his way too over-educated mother. At the end of the day, Doug is just a dad and husband and claims to be good at both.

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War Eagles Leave Falcons Searching

Last Friday night, the War Eagles were tested by Channelview’s kick and run style of soccer. Oak Ridge was unlucky to end the first half with 0-0 tie. Most of the play was in the defensive end in the first half, but the lions share of the good opportunities were Oak Ridge’s.

The second half was explosive with five goals being scored. The Falcons took advantage of some aggressive play and scored off of two free kicks.

Not to be outdone, the War Eagles thrilled the crowd with their creative style that netted three quality goals. Jose “Bulldozer” Mendoza imposed his will on the opposing defense and scored the first goal of the second half. Alec Burmeister broke the deadlock again with a cross that found its way into the back of the net.

Burmeister’s goal was made possible at midfield by an initial pass from Goggo (Martin Gonzalez). Gonzalez gained control of the sphere at midfield and proceeded to make a move on a Falcon that still has the unsuspecting opponent searching for his jock at this writing.

The scoring was capped off when Jose Mendoza was able to keep the ball in play while Arturo Rodriguez laid the ball on a plate for Johnathan Easley to tap infor the game winner.

Oak Ridge scoring: Goal scorers: Jose Mendoza, Alec Burmeister (Assist Martin Gonzalez), Johnathan Easley (assist Arturo Rodgriguez)

Oak Ridge starts district play on Tuesday at College Park.

Comments to Doug Sarant at doug@oakridgenow.com

Doug Sarant, Oak Ridge Now

Born and raised in New England, Doug promises he got to Texas as fast as he could. He earned the much needed "piece of paper" from Sam Houston State, proving to himself he could start and finish something. Doug's interests include coaching and playing any sport and still plays lacrosse competitively. He also enjoys going to dinner theaters, though he complains there just aren't enough of them in the area. Doug was brought up in a cultured environment, having suffered through dozens of symphonies and operas with his way too over-educated mother. At the end of the day, Doug is just a dad and husband and claims to be good at both.

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Lady War Eagle Soccer Playing Better Than Ever

This just in, Oak Ridge high school girls soccer coach, James Collins loves to coach. He has been coaching the Lady War Eagles for four years now. Before that, he was the Friendswood JV coach for 13 years. The last three of those years he drove from the Woodlands to Friendswood to work every day because he wasn’t quite ready to change schools.  Before that time, he was actually offered the College Park girls head coaching job but turned it down.

Coach Collins talks about his first year here at Oak Ridge, “When I first got here, the academy had just left and we barely had enough kids for a JV team. Somehow,  thanks to hard work by the kids we managed to get into the playoffs the first two years. The first year we lost to Klein 1-0 and the second we lost to Klein Oak 3-2 in OT. That one still hurts because we had a two goal lead with 15 minutes left and we couldn’t close it out. Last year, we had a bad year all around and missed the playoffs by one game. Our soccer was not always pretty but we did what we could to be competitive.”

Currently, the team is 7-3-3 and playing better than ever. Collins said that switching formations has really helped the team. He indicated his team has five freshmen in Claire Schuman, Kamri Brown, Sydney Vincent, Kate Smith, and Darienne Edens that have made a big difference this season.

Collins on the team’s chemistry, “Putting the frosh together with great senior leadership from Laurin Engle, Lexi Foster, TK Keith, Tania Sanchez, and Jade Sorensen has really made for a good mix of youth and experience for us. Jade, our two time all county forward used to have to carry the load offensively so it was easy for teams to mark her out of the game. Now we have the offensive workload spread out and have eight players that have scored this year.”

Last year, Sorensen hit pay-dirt 20 times and the entire rest of the team had four total. It seems that Coach Collins’ new system and influx of talent has made things better for Jade as well as the whole team.

Oak Ridge now plays a 3-4-3 and Gabby Esqiuvel, Ashley Gripka, and Lexie Foster man the back line of the zone. Freshman Sydney Vincent is doing a great  job controlling the defensive middle for the Lady War Eagles.

Collins explains how it all works, “We try to control the middle with our four mids, possess the ball and then play directly to our forwards who then play back to the mids while we look for mismatches in terms of space or marking up top. We have yet to completely figure out the proper movement up top with three forwards, but we are getting it up there and possessing it up top a lot and this has taken a lot of pressure off our defense.”

To give you an idea of how far this band of Lady War Eagles have come, they went to the Brenham tourney and finished 2-1-1 and were 7th out of 16. This is impressive when you consider they went to same tournament previously and finished dead last…..16 out of 16. This team is definitely on the way up.

In being without six key players, the team played in the New Caney tournament and finished 2-0-1 but could not advance because of the tie and losing a shootout. When you think about it, the team was without six players and they didn’t lose a game.

They played two non-tournament games and blanked Spring 1-0 and Cy Falls 2-0. Last weekend, Oak Ridge traveled to Longview and went 1-2-1.

The team’s only drawback is the fact that they can not stay healthy as they have yet to put their complete starting 11 out on the field.

The ladies are considered a small team but when you watch them play you will see size is not an issue to these girls. In a previous contest, a referee actually thought the War Eagles were a JV team. This should fuel their fire even more in their pursuit of post-season play.

Coach Collins doesn’t think size is a big deal on the soccer field, ” We do play hard and smart and I expect great things once district starts. I have a lot of talent at the 8th grade level as well. (Collins also coaches the York girls team). I know we have a bright future and I am excited about the whole program.”

Oak Ridge should surprise a lot of people this year because they are under the radar. They will be a lot better than people think.

In goal, they have senior Laurin Engle and sophomore Katherine Tesno, who have been great in the nets. “Kat” may be one of the best keepers in the region.

In the back, you have junior Gripka , senior Foster , junior Esquivel  and frosh Edens who have been excellent.

Junior Nadine Berns, Junior Sheridan, frosh Sidney Vincent  and soph Lauren Gelormini have really worked hard in the middle.

Senior Jade Sorensen, senior Taylor Keith, frosh Kamri Brown and frosh Kate Smith have been dangerous up top. Senior Tania Sanchez has played everywhere but Keeper and is the team’s Utility player, par excellence! To date, the team has scored 14 goals and given up 10.

Coach Collins’ outlook on the upcoming district season is infectious, “We can play with anyone. I promise you this…we are going to surprise some of these powerhouses in district this year. As for us, we will not be surprised because the kids now expect to play tough and win every night. After we make halftime adjustments, you may hear the kids laughing and doing things to stay loose before we go back on the field. I make it clear to the players this is supposed to be fun and as long as you leave everything out on the feild and give great effort, you should never be down on yourself if we lose. We have lost only three times this year and every time, they have walked off smiling because they always give all they have. It really is a great group of kids and I can not tell you how proud I am to coach them.”

Collins continued, “You just watch! Some powerhouse is going to come on this field and take us for granted and they will exit with frowns on their faces.”

Lady War Eagle soccer will host College Park Tuesday night for their first district tilt. Come on out and support this successful organization!

Comments to Doug Sarant at doug@oakridgenow.com

Doug Sarant, Oak Ridge Now

Born and raised in New England, Doug promises he got to Texas as fast as he could. He earned the much needed "piece of paper" from Sam Houston State, proving to himself he could start and finish something. Doug's interests include coaching and playing any sport and still plays lacrosse competitively. He also enjoys going to dinner theaters, though he complains there just aren't enough of them in the area. Doug was brought up in a cultured environment, having suffered through dozens of symphonies and operas with his way too over-educated mother. At the end of the day, Doug is just a dad and husband and claims to be good at both.

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Improved War Eagles Kick Off Soccer Season

The soccer season has been a virtual grind up to this point for Oak Ridge in participating in the Friendswood tournament and hosting the Oak Ridge Classic the past two weekends. Throw in four games sprinkled in between and it’s soccer galore.

The single games were scrimmages with victories over Jersey Village and Willis (both 1-0) and losses to Elsik and Memorial high schools (both 2-0 losses). The Friendswood tournament is an early measure as to how far the program has come in the past two seasons. Coach Jason Fanning talks about the tournament, “I felt we had the toughest group with perennial 4A powerhouse Friendswood, a very strong 5A team in Clear Creek, and another 4A team (Angleton) that has been to the playoffs for the past six years.

The War Eagles opened with Creek in a real physical game that resulted in a 2-1 loss. To give you an idea of how good Creek is, a week later, Creek went on to beat new district rival Kingwood, 1-0. Next up in the tournament, Ridge had a strong performance against Angleton where they controlled the entire game giving Angleton very few attacking opportunities. Although they controlled the whole game, one goal was all they would need in taking this contest 1-0. Coach Fanning elaborated on the lack of scoring; “The gluttony of possession didn’t lead to many goals but the performance was appreciated by the coaching staff and the 1-0 final was a tribute to our character.”

The last game of the group was huge for Oak Ridge. If they went on to win against Friendswood, they would win the group but anything else would mean they’d be out. It was do or die for the War Eagles.

Fanning talks about the game, “I believe the rarity of our boys being presented with that situation resulted in our tentative start and Friendswood jumped all over us with a 3-0 first half score. The boys would not be denied in making a statement, finishing strong and were unlucky to not score in the second half.”

The Oak Ridge classic was a tournament of vindication, exuberance, and disappointment. In the opening game. the War Eagles exacted revenge on Dekaney for the loss to them in last year’s final to the tune of a 5-1 score. In the next round, Oak Ridge met up with Northbrook, a team that handed the War Eagles a 4-0 thrashing last year. Coach liked this year’s result, “The boys grounded out one of the guttiest performances I’ve seen in my time here at Oak Ridge.” Northbrook jumped out fast with a goal in the first 30 seconds. However, Oak Ridge worked hard and eventually got back into the game by converting a penalty kick to make the halftime score 1-1. In the second half, with both teams running on fumes the War Eagles were not without chances as they had three choice opportunities in the final 15 minutes but failed to capitalize. Northbrook had their own opportunities as well in connecting with the post twice.

With the score tied 1-1 after regulation, Oak Ridge went a perfect 10/10 on penalty kicks. What was most impressive was the final penalty kick when Johnathan Easley, the young man who missed the “PK” in last years final, scored the winning “PK” to send the War Eagles into the final.

The final brought a group of speed demons from Cy/Springs. Cy/Springs was dominant in taking the final, 4-1. Coach Fanning was happy with his team’s performance in the tournament. “The boys were very disappointed with having finished runner-up for the second year in a row but I reminded them that second place is not the first loser. There were six other teams begging to switch places.”

Coach Fanning likes his team’s prospects in the revamped District 14-5A. “I am very optimistic about our chances in 14-5A. It will be a struggle with the addition of Kingwood and Atascocita, but I’d like to remind anyone who brings that to our attention that Oak Ridge is in the district as well and we are on the way up.”

One thing I’ve noticed in watching the War Eagles play is they work very hard regardless of the score. They seem to play with a nasty disposition always having something to prove to their opposition, the school, and themselves. Oak Ridge soccer was down last year and these guys want to show everyone they are for real and worthy of the school’s support.

The team has great senior leadership and youth in starting three freshmen several times already this early in the season.

Coach Fanning’s goals this season? ” Our goal is to finish in the top half of the league and establish the program as a competitive contributor to the 14-5A playoff race. Our key performers include senior captain, Martin Gonzalez who is a four year letter winner and all-district selection the past two years and our biggest attacking threat. When Martin has the ball at his feet, he immediately demands the attention of every opposing player. Martin is a scoring threat from anywhere  on the field and has scored five goals so far this season. The biggest part of his game this year will be his willingness  to score and provide scoring opportunities for others. Martin already has two assists and has set his goals on improving everyone else around him.

Fanning continued, “The team also has scoring threats in Jose Mendoza (sophomore/2goals) and senior Johnathan Easley (senior/3goals). Once Easley harnesses his physical presence more consistently, his goal tally will rocket. We are anchored in the middle by newcomer Ian Berns (one of three freshmen who see regular playing time). When you see this kid play the old cliche of the size of the dog in the fight comes to mind. His character will not be contained by his size as he will get stuck in with the biggest of opponents. In the back on defense, we have a mixture of youth and experience in Alec Burmeister (frosh), Chris Campos (Soph), Erick Guardado (Senior), and co-captain Mario Ortega (Senior). Alec routinely unleashes his incredible speed on the opposition and as soon as he gets more confident he will be scoring goals consistently. Chris and Erick are both big and strong. They  are tough defenders whose tenacity is matched only by their willingness to do whatever it takes to help the team. Mario’s speed and technical ability make him a threat on the wing and his work ethic and leadership make him a strong leader for the team.

The Oak Ridge high school soccer team’s website is: http://orhs.conroeisd.net/boys_soccer/.
Look at the schedule and go watch a few games. People like to say soccer is not as exciting as some other sports because there isn’t much scoring. If a soccer score is 3-2, that’s a 21-14 football game. Soccer is an art and when played and coached correctly, it is a strategic gem of a sport and a thrill to watch.

Here at Oak Ridge, Coach Fanning has a plan. You can always pick out the soccer coaches who were thrown into the position and know nothing about the game. Those are the teams that employ the “kick and run” style as in just keep kicking the ball towards the opposing goal and see what happens.

When you watch Oak Ridge soccer, the beauty with which they matriculate the ball up the field is pure art.

The boys have grinded out a tough preseason schedule to the tune of a 3-3-1 record heading into Friday’s contest at home against Channelview. Jv at 5pm and Varsity at 7pm.

Come support War Eagle soccer!

Comments to Doug Sarant at doug@oakridgenow.com

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Doug Sarant, Oak Ridge Now

Born and raised in New England, Doug promises he got to Texas as fast as he could. He earned the much needed "piece of paper" from Sam Houston State, proving to himself he could start and finish something. Doug's interests include coaching and playing any sport and still plays lacrosse competitively. He also enjoys going to dinner theaters, though he complains there just aren't enough of them in the area. Doug was brought up in a cultured environment, having suffered through dozens of symphonies and operas with his way too over-educated mother. At the end of the day, Doug is just a dad and husband and claims to be good at both.

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