SHINGLE SPRINGS — Sean Woldberg and Roger Blum scored minutes apart late in the second half Wednesday as visiting Oak Ridge held off Ponderosa 2-1 in Delta River League intra-county soccer action.
The varsity Trojan goals offset one by Bruin Spencer DeVetter near the end that put Ponderosa right back in contention. All of Wednesday’s scoring came in the last 15 minutes.
“Roger’s goal sealed it for us. I told the guys at halftime that whoever scores first just go with it,” Oak Ridge coach Henry Reis said. “You could tell the momentum shifted our way. We sent more numbers (on goal) in the second half and it paid off.”
Woldberg’s goal broke the ice in a battle between the longtime rivals. Though Trojan goalie, David Item, and his counterpart, Bruin Matt Aguiar, were 100 yards apart — they were on the same page defensively as both made numerous, difficult saves to keep the match scoreless.
“It was a tough game and I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time,” Item said.
Item and Aguilar reacted with pure instict. Both faced breakouts, two-on-ones and great looks from the offense only to snuff, reject or somehow get a hand on the ball to deny the attempt.
“We had our opportunities and played hard. Rivalry games always go like this,” Ponderosa coach Don Aguiar said. “This is our best game in our last three. We had good tempo.”
Wednesday’s match wasn’t the typical stand-off in midfield. Players streaked end-to-end as each side relentlessly attacked the other. Both defenses: Troy’s Ben Schowengerdt, Kevin Hanson, Doug James and Payam Mowzooni; and Bruins Sean Melton, TJ Spangler, Alex Perata and Matt Culver were each on their marks the entire way.
That still wasn’t enough to protect Item and Matt Aguiar. After each made some routine saves, the action heated up. Item’s sliding kick cleared DeVetter’s early opportunity while Matt Aguiar stuffed Blum’s shot.
An offsides call negated a Dakota Brazil-Arrington goal after his steal, give-and-go with DeVetter and avoidance of Item’s challenge — the whistle blew before the ball settled into the net. Oak Ridge also had a score waived off for the same reason — negating Eli Remy’s goal. The first half ended with Item blocking DeVetter and then batting out a corner cross.
Ponderosa nearly converted to open the second half after Roger Sarge drew a foul above the 18. Brazil-Arington’s free kick cleared Item but caromed off the crossbar as the big Bruin crowd in attendance groaned collectively.
Matt Aguiar’s block on Kyle Dickinson’s shot turned Troy back to the other end while Item lost the handle on Joe Cornelius’ bullet, but dove behind him to make the stop as the visitors avoided a close call. Oak Ridge countered on Woldberg’s blast and Dickinson’s head flick that were both gathered up by Matt Aguiar.
Ponderosa nearly converted on Culver’s pass ahead to Spangler for a cutback past Item that just missed the far post. But just when a 0-0 outcome looked possible, Woldberg stung a 40-yarder that snuck inside the right post to catch the Bruin goalie off guard.
“It was a play from our outside mid (Dickinson). I cut a player to the left, dribbled to the side of the defender and shot left-footed. I think the placement of the shot was hard for their keeper,” Woldberg said.
The Bruins had time but no luck pressing for the equalizer. Oak Ridge mounted another run and was working in a crowded box when a Ponderosa clear ricocheted back into the frame with Blum getting credit.
The 2-0 Trojan advantage appeared insurmountable but the Bruins answered on Josh Arvelo’s pass to DeVetter, who blasted a shot over Item.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Oak Ridge but we were just unlucky. We should have put away more of our chances and opportunities,” DeVetter said. “I played a ball down the line, the defender gave me room, I head-faked and hit as hard a shot as I could.”
DeVetter had one more look and lined up a shot but missed as time ran out.
The Trojans won the JV match 4-2.