McNary’s Juan Diego Mercado slides the ball through the legs of a South Salem forward. (Keizertimes/ERIC A. HOWALD)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

It’s beginning to feel like a common refrain – more goals.

Both the boys and girls varsity soccer team ended their matches with North Salem High School in draws. The girls tied the game at 1-1 and the boys knotted at 0-0. Players on both teams considered the games an upward swing in overall play, but the elusive wins are beginning to weigh heavily on their shoulders.

“We gotta finish like we do in practice,” said the boys’ Hugo Gonzalez. “We have to be confident when we shoot, that will make a huge difference.”

The boys met the Vikings on road Wednesday, Oct. 13, and battled to the Celts’ first shutout of the season in what players described as an “intense” game.

“We had a lot of shots on goal, we grew up a lot on the field,” said Hugo Cortez.

Miguel Camarena, Celtic head coach, was particularly pleased with the results as an away game with a top team in the league and as a sign of improvement over the Celtic effort earlier this season.

“The first game we lost 4-0, they were better team than us from the start to the end, but this time we changed formations, players and the team looked good and we played better than them,” he said. “Unfortunately, we missed many opportunities to score.”

Camarena singled out defender Oscar Ramirez for shutting down Viking Jose Somoza.

“He did that and helped our team to have an excellent game and our defense to look better and solid in the back,” Camarena said. “Hugo Cortez had his best game so far with four spectacular saves.”

Strategic retreats also worked well in the game, said Celt Luis Garibay.

“We’ve been pressuring more than usual,” he said. “But we’ve also been waiting until they come into our side of the field and then attacking.”

The girls also had an improved showing with North Salem despite the tie, Camarena said.

“Defensively, we did a pretty good job, the intensity was there,” he said. “We are getting confident and we are playing better soccer.”

The game left senior Jordan Salinas more tired than any game so far this season.

“It was one of our best games. We hustled and had great communication,” Salinas said.

Salinas scored the team’s only goal of the game off an assist from Stacey Titchenal. The Vikings caught up on a penalty kick in the 35th minute – the most upsetting aspect of the game.

“I would rather they had just gotten the goal outright,” Salinas said. “But we got right back up and into the game.”

The team still needs to clean up their passing game, said Alex Van Amburgh.

“We did pretty well, but we could have done better. We could have had better passes, a lot of them weren’t going to the right place,” she said.

Salinas, Van Amburgh and Casey Sidwell were Camarena’s picks for players of the game.

Overall, the team looked and played better than they did in previous outings, Salinas said.

“Our girls are finally playing as team, like we should have been the whole time,” she said.