Nothing soothes the pain of a heartbreaking road loss more than two blowout wins at home.
After falling to Grant Union 4-1 last Saturday in John Day, the Horizon Christian soccer team bounced back to beat Cascade Locks 9-0 on Tuesday and Riverdale 8-0 on Thursday.
“It feels good to score a bunch because we’re in a more upbeat mood heading into Tuesday’s game,” said sophomore Brian Stenberg, who scored four goals in two games as the Hawks prepared for a rematch against Grant Union.
“It was tough to travel all that way and not play very well. We just need to put that loss behind us and play them the same way we did the first time,” he said.
The first meeting between the two teams ended in a 1-1 tie back on Sept. 20 in Hood River. And, because the Prospectors now hold a one-game advantage for second place, the Hawks will have to play the game of their lives to earn the league’s second playoff seed for the Oct. 26 conference playoffs.
“We definitely don’t want to go back there a third time,” coach Grant Galloway said of the four-and-a-half hour bus ride to John Day. “Our guys want it bad and if we play like we did on Thursday (vs. Riverdale), it’s going to be a pretty intense match.”
A Horizon win Tuesday would put them on equal ground with Grant Union in the standings. However, they must also make up the goal differential due to the tie-breaker format.
The Hawks (2-4-1 league; 3-6-1 overall) will look to Stenberg and junior striker Cheyne Swick — who scored five goals against Cascade Locks and four versus Riverdale — to provide the firepower in a game they must win by three goals to earn the second playoff seed behind Umatilla.
“We didn’t play that bad last weekend,” freshman midfielder Jared Nagreen said. “We scored first, but had a few bad breaks after that. We just need to keep it up the entire game this time around.”
Galloway said that besides the long bus trip, the biggest challenge for the Hawks will be to get used to the altitude in John Day. He has stressed conditioning over the past week, and believes that if the team continues to use its speed on the wings, the Hawks will come out on top.
“It’s going to be a shootout,” he said.
Also finding the net this week for Horizon were senior John Winters, junior Colin Franger, and freshmen Colin Swick and Josh Dunnegan.