SHINGLE SPRINGS — Oak Ridge and Ponderosa High’s boys soccer programs faced off Wednesday night in Bruin country for the first and last intra-county showdown in preseason action.
Oak Ridge’s junior varsity and varsity programs each took earned 2-1 victories over the hosts, despite the Bruins holding a one-goal lead for the majority of the varsity match.
“Overall it was a decent start to the preseason,” Troy’s head coach Joe Champion said. “The win puts us at 3-0 for the preseason which is great.”
Ponderosa forced Oak Ridge’s varsity to earn the win late. Once Bruin Andrew Doe drew first blood with a first-half goal, the boys in green maintained their lead for over 70 minutes but succumbed to two quick Oak Ridge goals in the final 20 minutes of play.
“It’s still early, but we had a pretty good start,” Bruin head coach Greg Spangler said. “We took the lead with that goal from Andrew (Doe), and we were able to hold it for 70-plus minutes against a great team.
“With the new division we’re playing in, we’re looking forward to competing with some great programs,” he added.
Oak Ridge began to find momentum and press in the second half, allowing Trojan forward Julian Garcia to pick up the equalizer, while co-captains Cole Cahill and Noah Bensman teamed up to put away the winning score. Bensman led Cahill with a brilliant cross that Cahill finished in snappy fashion to secure the lead and eventually, the win.
“It was really nice to see,” Champion said, “that this was the only time we’ll be able to play Ponderosa — the last time for our seniors — and our winning goal was scored by one of my senior captains on an assist from my other senior captain. We were talking about that after the match (that) that was a great way for them to cap off their last game playing in this great rivalry our schools have.”