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Hawks battle into post season

October 29, 2005

Horizon soccer coach Mark Lago has had a beard for 12 years. The Hawks’ 2-0 win Thursday evening against City Christian means Lago will shave the beard that even his daughter has never seen him without. Lago made a deal with his team: If they make it to the state playoffs, he will shave it off.

Well, he had better break out the lather, a razor blade and aftershave, because the Hawks are going to the playoffs.

Horizon hosted two district playoff games this week and they needed to win both games to advance to the state tournament. They defeated Portland Christian 2-1 on Tuesday and City Christian 2-0 Thursday to finish second in the district and seal the fate of Lago’s face.

Horizon vs. Portland Christian

With a big home field advantage, the Hawks pulled together a 2-1 win Tuesday afternoon in the first round of the 1A/2A District 2 playoffs. After falling behind 1-0 in the first half of the game, the team picked up its game to score two goals and steal the lead before halftime. David Rovianek and Kent Ueland scored for the Hawks and the win was a solid team effort. “The guys just held it together and played with sheer determination,” Lago said. “It was a dog fight. They dug deep and built on each other to keep going.”

Although neither team scored in the second half, Horizon controlled the midfield and kept the ball on their offensive side for much of the half. After racking up 41 shots in the game, only 15 of which were on goal, the Hawks went back to basics in practice Wednesday afternoon to prepare for their next playoff game. According to Lago, that meant repetitive kicking drills to work on shot accuracy and consistency.

Due to Horizon finishing second in the league during the regular season, they had the home-field advantage against Portland Christian, who finished fifth in the league, and against Thursday’s second round game against City Christian.

Horizon vs. City Christian

In their regular season match up, Horizon snuck by City Christian with a 1-0 win. On Thursday the Hawks slipped two goals by City late in the second half for a 2-0 shut out victory.

Jared Negreen scored first, hooking a corner kick into the net to take the lead. David Rovianek sealed the victory for Horizon off a deep free kick that sailed over the defensive wall, over the goalie’s hands and into the net.

“In all my years of coaching, which is about 18 now, I’ve never seen a team with so much heart and determination to win a game,” Lago said. “I have no problem shaving my beard for this.”

The Hawks will now go on the road Tuesday for a game against the district’s number one team, North Clacamas. That game will determine the team’s seeding in the state playoffs. If Horizon wins on Tuesday, they will play the first round playoff game at home on Nov. 8, if they lose they will play at home on Nov. 5.

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