Win and advance.
The Corvallis High boys soccer team followed that time-honored postseason path on Tuesday in a 6-0 victory over The Dalles/Dufur at Bob Holt Stadium in the opening round of the OSAA 5A state tournament.
Corvallis weathered a fast start by the Riverhawks and then steadily wore the 15th-seeded visitors down with a formidable defense, pinpoint passing and a wide advantage in possession to move safely through into the quarterfinals for the third year in a row.
"That’s how it is sometimes; you come out slow and it’s all about the attitude you have coming out of that," CHS senior midfielder Riley Mellinger said. "It’s not about how you start, it’s how you finish.
"If you’re able to match that intensity and take control of the game, it’s going to provide results like we got tonight. Once we settled into the game, it was easier to get going and we piled (goals) onto the scoresheet.
"We took the first step tonight, a good thing to start off with. Last year in the first round we got tested and ended up in PKs" in a 4-3 victory over Sandy. "We had to make sure we came out strong tonight.
"We learned that anything can happen in the playoffs. We took care of business, which was good to see."
The second-seeded Spartans (12-1-2) now host No. 7 Churchill (11-2-2) on Saturday at a time to be determined. Churchill eliminated 10th-seeded Hood River Valley 3-2 Tuesday in Eugene.
Junior Edgar Monroy scored three goals and assisted on another to lead the Spartans. Mellinger had a goal and an assist; seniors Liam Clark and Avery Whipple also scored.
Monroy missed a chance to put CHS ahead 1-0 in the 16th minute when his chip shot over goal keeper Jaime Castro went wide. However, Clark blasted home a rebound for a 1-0 lead at 23:44 and Monroy’s clinical finish on a run down the right side at 29:27 gave CHS a 2-0 halftime lead.
It was all CHS in the second half. Monroy was fouled in the box at 46:31, and Whipple converted the ensuing PK to make it 3-0. Two goals by Monroy and one by Mellinger within a span of 1:13 in the 52nd and 53rd minutes made it 6-0 to end all doubt.
CHS coach Chad Foley said slow starts have been typical for the Spartans this fall.
"We kind of ease into games, something we’re trying to correct as we move forward," he said. "Credit to The Dalles, they came out and pressured us early.
"But once we settled in and played the way we know how, it showed in the results. I have total faith in every position group. They are doing what is asked of them, and beyond.
"We’re playing our best soccer of the season, we’re peaking at the right moment and that’s really good to see."
Whipple, senior midfielder Simon Rodriguez and sophomore midfielder Mauricio Nieves-Bernal added assists. Senior goal keeper Roman Gabriel posted his second consecutive shutout and his sixth clean sheet overall.
"There’s a whole lot to build off," Mellinger said. "Obviously there are a few things to fix, but just getting our confidence level up and knowing we can compete at the playoff level is huge."
Churchill finished second to Ashland in the Midwestern League and has won its last four games by a 15-2 margin.
Both sides played Crescent Valley; CHS topped the Raiders 4-0 and Churchill and CV battled to a scoreless tie. Both also played Hood River Valley; CHS prevailed 2-0, the Lancers 3-2.
"We haven’t seen (Churchill) much because they play a double round-robin in their league," Foley said. “They don’t give up many goals, only nine all year.
"It’s going to be a test, a great game."