Sept. 20, 2021 – The Siuslaw soccer team played their last non-league match of the season at home on Sept. 16 and lost to Pleasant Hill 9-1.
Pleasant Hill, the 3A #9 ranked team in the state in the most recent OSAA coaches’ poll, had outscored their opponents a combined 16-0 coming into the match at Siuslaw.
The Billies got out of the gate early, scoring seven goals before halftime. The damage could have been significantly worse if not for four saves in the first half and 10 in the second by senior goalkeeper Kayden Lane.
Junior Alex Gross and sophomores Braxton Hulet and Dylan Jensen all got shots on goal, but senior Dante Galli did the only scoring for the Vikings when he scored a goal late in the first half.
This was the last tune-up before Sky-Em league play begins. Coach Londi Tomaro hoped they could use these preseason games to prepare for league play, but understands sometimes its best just to start fresh.
“You hope you can work out the kinks in your preseason games, but when things like this happen then you just start over and try something different,” said Tomaro. “I think Pleasant Hill gave us a chance to see something like the level of play we’ll be up against in the Sky-Em League and I’m feeling pretty good about it. I think we have it in us to be more competitive than we have been.”
Things aren’t expected to get easier for the Viks anytime soon. Siuslaw opened league play Monday at Marist after press deadlines and plays Marshfield at home on Thursday. Those two teams were, arguably, the best teams in the Sky-Em League last year and will certainly test the Vikings.
One thing Siuslaw would like to work on is coming out of the gate ready to play at their maximum level. Tomaro has noticed that other teams seem to have an advantage over her squad when it comes to going hard from the beginning of the game.
“I think our team tends to start a little bit slow and ramp up as they move along. Some of the other teams that we play come out at a higher level of intensity,” said Tomaro. “We’ve been working on how to get them ready for that higher level of intensity at the start of the game, and hopefully we'll be able to get that figured out in the next couple of games. That should also have a positive impact.”
The Siuslaw soccer program is in its infancy and many of the problems the team faces can only be solved with time and experience. Most high school teams the Vikings compete against have kids that have played for summer traveling teams before they even reach high school. Florence, as a community, is still working to get soccer to the level, in local enthusiasm and participation, that many other towns in Oregon have already achieved.
The community is showing signs of getting on board though.
Recently, a 15-foot high fence was purchased and installed behind the east goal at the soccer field at the corner of 27th and Oak streets. This fence is necessary to keep errant soccer balls from going onto Oak Street, creating a hazard for drivers, and creating a time consuming situation for players or coaches that must retrieve the ball.
The fence didn’t come cheap. With a $4,000 grant from the Western Lane Community Foundation, $500 each from Nosh Eatery and the Holmes Family of Kodiak, Alaska, and Troy, Va., the program was able to purchase the fence. The Siuslaw School District was able to cover the final $1,000 required for shipping. Thus, showing that the Florence community is excited to help the Siuslaw soccer program and also on board with creating a safer playing environment for the team and a safer driving experience for the traffic on Oak Street.
“The high school soccer coaches, along with the entire team, extend our most sincere thanks to each of these entities for supporting our purchase of this system,” said Tomaro.
The Vikings were on the pitch Monday for their first Sky-Em League match at Marist after press deadlines. They’re back at home today versus Marist at 6:30 p.m.