THE DALLES - For the Seaside High boys soccer team, a three-hour road trip to the Columbia Gorge probably didn't seem like an ideal location for a nonleague match. The Gulls (1-2) undoubtedly had a pleasant ride home after recording their first win of the season in a 2-0 victory over The Dalles-Wahtonka Union (1-2) Tuesday at Kramer Field in The Dalles.
Seaside, ranked No. 11 in the Oregon Class 3A Coaches Poll, took third place in the state playoffs last year and should be considered a top contender again as coach Jon Broderick's experienced squad includes nine seniors. The outstanding senior duo of forward Nathan Pogue (two goals) and goalkeeper Gabe Wahrmund (eight saves) helped lead Seaside to victory.
The Dalles-Wahtonka, which is Class 4A after a recent merger of two area schools, had somewhat of a home-field advantage as referees issued three yellow cards to Seaside, while the Eagle-Indians had none. Despite being outshot 18-13, Pogue's two second-half goals and tough, aggressive defensive pressure helped Seaside avoid starting the 2004 season with an 0-3 record.
"It's nice winning early-season games like this and it feels great to get our first win," said Broderick, whose two sons, Max and Perry, play for the Gulls. "Last year we also had a slow start, but we were doing pretty well by the end of the season."
"This is Gabe's first year as goalkeeper and he performed flawlessly, while playing with lots of confidence, so I feel very proud of him," Broderick said. "Carn Wiese, Jesse Hinton and Pogue are certainly capable of scoring goals. Defenders Justin Krieger, Kevin Nagle, Josiah Sigler and Anders Benson played remarkable defense as they helped prevent many scoring opportunities by The Dalles."
Seaside dodged a bullet early as Joshua Dunagan, of The Dalles-Wahtonka, surprisingly missed a penalty kick in the 23rd minute. Both squads played evenly in the first 40 minutes as each took five shots on goal, but it was 0-0 at halftime.
Seaside seemed to shake off the effects of a long bus ride and displayed a higher energy level in the second half as the Gulls also appeared to feel more confident on offense. Pogue took control of a pass from Wiese (one assist) on the left side of the field. He maneuvered past a defender and fired a right-footed shot into the net from seven yards out, making it 1-0 in the 49th minute.
"This really was a big win, because it broke a two-game losing streak. We won on the road and it prevented us from going 0-3," said Pogue. "After I got by a defender, it was one-on-one against the keeper and I felt confident that I could shoot the ball past him. We have so many highly skilled players, so there's no doubt that we'll qualify for the playoffs and hopefully, we'll continue to have even more success in the state tournament this year."
The Dalles-Wahtonka responded by pressing forward with nearly all nine players in a desperate attempt to tie the game. The Dalles-Wahtonka outshot Seaside 13-8 in the second half, while controlling the ball on their side of the field a majority of the final 15 minutes. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Wahrmund made numerous spectacular saves to help preserve the lead. In what was the Eagle-Indians best scoring chance, Oscar Nunes fired a shot from point-blank range 10 yards away, but Wahrmund dived to the ground smothering the ball for what perhaps was a key turning point of the game in the 64th minute.
"It's nice getting our first win, everyone contributed well at both ends of the field and we played awesome defense," said Wahrmund.
Pogue helped Seaside extend its lead when he booted a 12-yard penalty kick in the 71st minute to make it 2-0. Seaside's next match is a 4 p.m. contest Thursday at Sweet Home.