SHINGLE SPRINGS — It was a gritty grind Tuesday afternoon as host Ponderosa squared off against neighboring Oak Ridge in a physical rivalry match that saw the Trojans pull away with a 1-0 victory.
“We knew the kind of game it was going to be going into today,” Bruin head coach Greg Spangler said. “When you play Oak Ridge you know it’s going to be very physical, very emotional game. I thought we played well early on, we just ended up on the wrong side of it today.”
Both squads have been plagued with injury and illness. Ponderosa was without leading scorer Trevor Swartz and keeper Giovanni Delqurentis. The loss of Giovanni has pulled Curtis Goldsmith from center back into the box, forcing a balancing act on defense.
Though undefeated, Oak Ridge has also struggled maintaining a healthy roster. An immeasurable loss Tuesday came in the 58th minute when senior Cameron Perkins collided with Cameron Spencer, sustaining a broken tibia and fibula that’ll force the senior to miss the rest of the season.
“As of right now,” head coach Joe Champion said, “I think the boys would normally be celebrating a great win over a big rival in Ponderosa, but everything is very much subdued as we are all thinking about Cameron right now.”
Trojan senior Brian Looper initiated the game-winner for Oak Ridge in the 49th minute, chipping a well-timed lead-in to junior Justin Bethke on the right wing. Having beaten his defender off the ball, Bethke settled and finished on a low riser that skirted by Goldsmith.
In the final 20 minutes Bruin Brandan Avalos worked hard to pressure the attack. He continued to give Oak Ridge’s backfield trouble but a solid Trojan line cleared out any threats, allowing the visitors to seal their second league win of the year.