WOODBURN – Heritage scored a goal with just over 2 minutes remaining in the Woodlan boys soccer sectional quarterfinal and furiously tried to complete a comeback to keep its season alive. But Bishop Dwenger held on for the 2-1 victory Wednesday.
Bishop Dwenger coach Carlos Cruz said his only quibble with his team's performance was that the Saints (11-4) had plenty of opportunities to put away more than two goals.
“My expectation for the way we play is always the same, that we're going to control the ball and control the game. We focus heavily on possession of the ball, with the purpose of breaking down the lines of defense,” Cruz said. “I was very happy with the way we played. However, I would have been more satisfied if we would have capitalized on our finishing opportunities.”
It was Heritage (10-3-1) who had those first finishing opportunities, however. Junior midfielder Ma Mat Sain had a clear shot right off the bat, which was saved by Saints senior keeper Stefan Magner. Fifteen minutes into the match, Magner already had three saves.
“It was huge, it was so important, it was critical. Without him making those early saves, the whole game changes,” Cruz said.
Cruz said the entire flow of the game changed when he subbed in senior Luke Woenker at central forward.
“When I called him off the bench, I asked him one thing, I said, 'Can you be that spark for us?'” Cruz recounted. “And without hesitation, he said, 'Yes, sir.' He looked at me with those deep eyes, 'Yes, sir.' I think he was in there maybe five minutes, and he's the one that created the PK.”
Heritage was called for the foul with 11:39 to play in the first half, and the penalty kick was taken by junior forward Dominic Cruz. He sent it to the lower left corner, while the Heritage goalie dived to the right, and the Saints took a 1-0 lead.
The Saints almost made it 2-0 three minutes before halftime, as sophomore midfielder Gianluca Cruz sent the cross to Dominic Cruz. The junior got his head on it but it sailed over the crossbar.
Less than a minute into the second half, Woenker scored on the rebound to put the Saints up 2-0.
“Luca (Cruz) played in a beautiful ball, (Lucas) Ciocca got a great head on it, and I was just there to collect the rebound,” Woenker said. “I was pretty lucky. Right spot at the right time.”
The Saints had a few more scoring opportunities that just missed. But the next goal scored came from Heritage senior Ha Sin, who was sliding to the ground as he made his last touch. The ball squirted past Magner to cut the Saints lead to 2-1.
Ha Sin immediately got back on his feet and ran into the net to retrieve the ball as he and his teammates rushed to score again before time ran out, but they did not have another shot on goal.
Bishop Dwenger, however, will be back in action at 7 p.m. today, as the Saints face Woodlan (7-7-2) in the sectional semifinals. The Warriors beat Bellmont 3-0 in the second game Tuesday night.