2A Boys Soccer: Warriors Nab First Playoff Win in 11 years

BACK ON TRACK: Rochester Shut Out Centralia, 3-0, for its First Playoff Victory

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Alexis Castillo-Corona scored two goals and Rochester shut out Centralia, 3-0, in the opening round of the 2A Evergreen Conference playoffs at home Saturday, giving the Warriors their first playoff win since 2013.

It was a rewarding victory for the Warriors had just taken a 1-0 loss to the Tigers eight days earlier in the regular season.

“This team is pretty excited knowing today was a big game,” Rochester coach Matt Ashton said. “They didn’t look past Centralia.”

Senior midfielder Aaron Esquivel opened up the scoring with a goal in the 12 minute off an assist by Owen Hahn to put the Warriors up 1-0 early.

Castillo-Corona scored the first of his two goals in the 34th minute, finding the back of the net in a scrum near goal. He then made it 3-0 in the second half with an unassisted goal in the 57th minute to close out the scoring.

“We limited Centralia’s offensive attack and our defense held tall and strong,” Ashton said.

Ashton praised senior Jamison Cody for his staunch performance on the defensive line, as well as Esquivel at outside mid and Alexis, offensively.

“Alexis has been a playmaker for us all season,” Ashton said. “He leads the team in goals.”

Rochester improves to 6-4-2 overall and advances to the second round of the tourney on Tuesday.

Centralia ends its season with a 2-8 record and was on a two-game win streak entering Saturday’s match. Five seniors played their final game for the Tigers: Victor Rojas, Franklin Pena, Zaid Tekle, Kevin Mojica and Victor Prado.

Bearcats Take Down Shelton

Angel Hernandez notched a hat trick and W.F. West shutdown Shelton in the second half for a 5-2 opening-round victory in the 2A EvCo playoffs Saturday at home.

The victory gives the Bearcats their first playoff victory in at least seven years, coach Allen Anderson said.

“I was pretty proud of the boys,” Anderson said. “It was nice to see them get their first playoff win.”

It didn’t come easily. The Bearcats were playing their third game in just five days, and it showed as Shelton came out firing from the get-go.

The Highclimbers scored in the first minute to take a lightning-quick 1-0 lead. It wasn’t enough to stun the Bearcats, as Hernandez blasted one through the net five minutes later off an assist from Antheny Leal-Mendez to even the score.

“You could tell our guys were exhausted after this week,” Anderson said. “Shelton came out really strong, really fast. It took us a while to get a rhythm.”

The Bearcats found their rhythm in the second half, after Shelton scored in the 23rd minute to retake the lead, followed by Cody Pennington’s goal and Hernandez’ assist in the 35th minute to make it 2-2 at halftime.

From there, it was all W.F. West.

Hernandez scored his second goal of the day just 22 seconds into the second half, assisted by senior Bryce Laufenberg.

“We came out strong the second half and didn’t let up,” Anderson said. “We kept the pressure on.”

Lucas Wichert gave the Bearcats a 4-2 lead in the 51st minute off an assist from Leal-Mendez, then Hernandez notched his hat trick to close out the scoring in the 76th minute off an assist by Pennington.

The Bearcats improve to 6-3-1 overall and advance to the second round of the 2A EvCo playoffs on Tuesday.

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