Oroville soccer battles low numbers

BRIDGEPORT – The 4-1 loss at Bridgeport didn’t disappoint Oroville boys soccer coach Mike Pitts in the least bit.

Having to play the game 9-on-11 was another matter.

With only nine players available for their Saturday, April 14, match against the Mustangs, Pitts hoped that Bridgeport would be willing to match the Hornets’ numbers, as other teams have this season.

No such luck.

“They are the only team to not match our playing numbers this year,” Pitts said. “Although down from the start our team played cohesively and with passion. We kept the pressure on Bridgeport and since we were trying to win the game we had to take some chances in the midfield, leaving our defense vulnerable.”

Pitts said the Hornets had their chances, but didn’t capitalize on enough of them. Raul Rodriguez scored the Hornets’ lone goal in the first half.

“We won the ball possession advantage during the game,” he said. “But playing 9-on-11 was the deciding factor. We didn’t capitalize on some golden opportunities and given our situation we couldn’t afford not to.

“Given the adversity our team has faced, I couldn’t be more proud of the way our team played.”

The Hornets (1-7, 1-3 Central Washington League) return to action at home against Omak on Thursday April 19, and at Liberty Bell on Saturday.

Omak 7, Oroville 1

OMAK – With the Hornets fielding just 10 players, the Pioneers agreed to a nine-on-nine match and wore down the Hornet ironmen, 7-1 on April 12.

Raul Rodriguez scored in the first half to knot the score at 1-1 before Omak pulled away.

“We’ve been battling (low) numbers all season and due to recent departures of key starters due to academic ineligibility, we will finish the season off with 10 players,” said Oroville coach Mike Pitts. “We have been working in our new goalkeeper Lucas Mieirs, who has five weeks of experience since we lost senior goalkeeper Levi Werner to a knee injury suffered in the Tonasket game. Lucas was thrown into the lions’ den and has stepped up big on many occasions. Keeping his confidence level up is my main priority as he continues to learn.”

Pitts said with his entire team playing all 80 minutes every game, fatigue has been a deciding factor against many opponents.

“The players are getting valuable playing time,” he said. “Hopefully that will benefit them through the rest of this season and the next.”

The Hornets also fell at Manson, 7-0, on April 10.

About Brent Baker

Brent, is a former reporter/photographer for the Gazette-Tribune and sometimes works as a freelance sports reporter for the G-T. Prior to working at the G-T, he was the sports editor for Sunrise Publishing from 2000-2005 in Michigan. He subsequently owned and operated Buckland Media, a high school sports website, in Michigan until 2010. He and his wife Kim, who have an adult son, moved to Tonasket in 2010. Brent worked as a full time reporter/photographer at the G-T from 2011 - 2014).

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