STAYTON — Astoria and Stayton were tied 0-0 at halftime, before the Eagles took flight in the second half, scoring four goals in a 4-0 win over the Fishermen, in a Class 4A boys soccer first round state playoff game Wednesday.
Stayton — ranked second behind Seaside — improved to 14-0 overall, and advances to the quarterfinals to face Molalla. Astoria finishes 9-5-2 overall.
Astoria senior goalkeeper Jake Hurd had an outstanding night, despite the loss. His first save came seven minutes in, absorbing a point-blank shot following an excellent cross-in by Stayton. On the night, Hurd earned a total of 25 saves.
The Fishermen were also able to accomplish what no other team could this year against Stayton — keeping the Eagles off the score sheet in the first half.
The Eagles finally broke open the scoreless match with a goal in the 48th minute, Alex Cramer banking a shot in off the right post. David Gomez followed with a goal off a deflection in the 55th minute, and the Eagles made it 3-nil on a goal midway through the second half.
Jacobe Croff capped the scoring with 12:39 left.
Jose Navarro got the save in goal for the Eagles, preserving the shutout with a big save with 15 minutes remaining.
The Fishermen struggled in their attack, often moving up the center of the field, which was congested with Stayton defenders. Astoria managed only four shots on goal.
Astoria’s best opportunities came on free kicks. In the 14th minute, Cole Beeson took a free kick that was on frame. Navarro bobbled the catch but was able to recover before Astoria’s Trevor Byrd could reach the ball.
The other strong opportunity came in the 65th minute, when Beeson took a free kick which was on goal, but deflected over the bar by Navarro, earning Astoria’s lone corner kick.
Stayton had 17 corner kicks to Astoria’s one.
“I am very proud of them,” Astoria coach Lee Cain said of his team. “Not only for a winning season and making it to the playoffs, but also holding the best 4A team we’ve played this year to a scoreless first half, possibly the only one they’ve experienced.
“(The Eagles) were frustrated at halftime. Stayton is a well-coached, very fit, very fast and physical team. We got a little tired in the second half.
“Our guys left it all on the field,” he said, “but Stayton deserves their win. They are a very good team.”
Cain said Hurd “withstood a blistering barrage of mostly long distance line drives. He is in the books with 25 saves tonight, 14 of them coming in the second half. Gustavo Velazquez had the defensive game of his season, doing an incredible job as a stopper in front of the back line, and Jose Gonzalez was amazing as well. But we had tremendous games from every single player. The team was a team tonight.”