Boys Soccer Shows Growth, Improvement in Rebuilding Year

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The Canby boys soccer team wrapped up their season Monday with a 7-0 loss to Three Rivers League Champion West Linn. The boys finished the season 2-12 overall record, with a 2-10 record in the TRL.

For third-year head coach Ryan McCormack, he knows that the results won’t come instantly.

“We really started competing with a lot of teams that we haven’t been able to hang with in the past,” said McCormack. “Our pass completion percentages and pass strings have gone way up. We were starting to impose conditions on teams that on paper might be stronger than us for large stretches of games.”

The Cougars hung tough against teams like Tigard and Lake Oswego. Against a Tualatin team that would go on to finish No. 18 in the state, Canby jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead before falling to the Timberwolves. Both of the Cougars’ wins came over Oregon City, games that gave the boys much-needed momentum.

Several Cougars were recognized for their efforts throughout the season. Senior goalie David Villegas won TRL Goalie of the Year thanks to a ridiculous 8.1 saves per game.

Junior midfielder Sammy Barajas-Silva won Oregon MaxPreps player of the week, as did junior Vladimir Bernal Lopez for the week of Sept. 27 — though, unfortunately, the team was not informed of the honor until this week.

Lopez, who also captured a TRL All-League Second Team nod, scored four goals on the year, tallied four assists and played multiple positions throughout the year, anchoring a team that lost key starter Cristobal Esquivel in the first game of the season.

“When I first heard about the award, I was very shocked and very happy, the junior said, “I didn’t really think much of it until the next day it really hit me that I got recognized and made a team.”

Though he didn’t win an award, senior Cristian Sanchez-Ramirez led the team in scoring and was the team’s go-to penalty kick taker, notching two goals in Canby’s first win over Oregon City.

On the defensive side, the Cougars gradually improved from the start of the season. McCormack credited Mario Bautista and Heladio Vera for stepping up defensively for Canby. Villegas anchored a young defensive back line for the Cougars that is certain to improve for next year.

That’s the key for McCormack and his squad: improvement. Canby was outscored 7-29 in their first five games this year. By the end, they were competing against top-end talent like Lakeridge and West Linn for much of their games.

“Though the record may not look much different than the year prior, if you look at the strength of schedule we played this year, there’s basically no comparison,” said McCormack. “Now, it’s about learning how to sustain our good sections for 80 minutes instead of 40.”

After returning only three full-time players this season, Canby will bring back 15 next year — signaling a bright future ahead for McCormack and the Canby Cougars boys soccer team.

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