STAYTON — After losing two of their last three games and literally limping to the end of the regular season, the Seaside boys soccer team is back in business.
The Gulls opened the Class 4A state playoffs Tuesday evening in Stayton, where Seaside scored a 1-0 win over the No. 5-seeded Eagles, who were the only team to defeat powerhouse Woodburn this year.
All of which puts the No. 12-ranked Gulls right back in the state title hunt. Seaside advances to the quarterfinals for the second year in a row, and will host No. 13-ranked North Marion (Saturday, time to be announced). The winner will face either Marist Catholic or Phoenix in the semifinals on Tuesday.
In the Stayton win, Seaside’s Dodger Holmstedt scored off an assist from Chase Januik 30 minutes into the first half for the game’s only goal, in a hard-fought, physical battle.
“The goal was set up through a great network of passing,” said Seaside coach John Chapman. “Then Dodger just blasted it in from the top of the box.”
Seaside’s win was one of three games Tuesday in which lower-seeded teams defeated higher-seeded teams on the road.
Elsewhere, North Marion topped No. 4 La Grande (2-1), and No. 15 Newport defeated No. 2 seed Ontario (2-1).
Meanwhile, Seaside and Stayton were two familiar foes, meeting for the third time in three years.
Stayton won the two previous regular season games, defeating the Gulls 4-1 in 2016 and 5-0 last year.
“Heart,” Chapman said. “The boys played with a lot of heart.”
He added, “the defense was just a rock, and (Samson) Sibony had an amazing game in goal.”
And did the Gulls get conservative after their goal?
“Heck no,” Chapman said. “The Gulls are not going to ‘park the bus.’”
Seaside and North Marion also played last season, with the Gulls winning a 2-1 contest at North Marion.