Crescent Valley High boys soccer coach Casey Fries has taken many long walks off the pitch during the postseason, often with a player in his arms, like he did Wednesday night.
It’s the hardest thing he does as a coach.
Fries embraced senior Porter Livingston and walked him off the turf field at Corvallis High on Wednesday, just minutes after the Raiders suffered a 2-1 shootout loss to La Salle Prep in an OSAA 5A round-of-16 game.
La Salle Prep advanced by winning the shootout, 5-4.
The Falcons (10-5) will face Summit in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
The season came to an end for the Raiders (8-4-4).
“You can’t look at the shootout. There’s other opportunities in the game and it takes the full squad to get where we are and it takes the full squad to advance or it takes the full squad to not advance,” Fries said after spending several moments embracing his players and coaches.
“It never gets easier. You see the backs of those guys one last time and it’s just so hard. It’s so hard and we felt like we did what we needed to advance.”
The game came down to a shootout after being deadlocked at 1-1 after regulation and two 10-minute overtime sessions.
La Salle keeper Dylan Tran was able to make one save and Ari Tani gave the Falcons the win on the fifth and final attempt.
“We worked really hard and we wanted it really bad, but in the end, PKs, you miss one and it’s pretty deadly,” Livingston said.
Livingston gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute on a free kick from about 25 yards out.
The celebration was short-lived, however, as La Salle Prep’s Greg Manzano rifled a shot from about 30 yards out to equalize the game approximately 30 seconds later.
“We got the goal and we kind of were excited and we fell asleep right there and that (goal) happened,” Livingston said.
Fries said right after scoring a goal is a perfect time for a team to be vulnerable.
“Absolutely. We try to keep the emotional piece to an even current and not peaks and valleys,” he said. “I think that we allowed it to be too high and then we dropped too low too quickly. We weren’t compact enough and didn’t step quickly enough.”
Both teams had chances to take the lead but weren’t able to finish throughout the rest of regulation and overtime.
That meant a shootout.
“You can’t look at the PK that we missed,” Fries said. “You have to look at the other places that we made errors.
“I thought we had the run of the play. We just didn’t get over the hump.”
Fries tried to encourage his team the best he could in the postgame huddle.
He talked about the legacy the seniors were leaving behind because of their work rate, effort and the intensity they brought.
“This is not about the game but about who we are and who we become as men,” he told them. “I couldn’t be more proud of a team than I am of you guys right now. You guys fought every single day, every single minute.”
Livingston echoed those thoughts afterward.
“I think it’s all a life lesson,” he said. “We all worked hard and we did what we could but it wasn’t enough in the end.
“It was a battle.”
La Salle Prep 2, Crescent Valley 1 (SO)
CV: Porter Livingston, 10:00
LS: Greg Manzano, 11:00