MILTON-FREEWATER — The Mac-Hi Pioneers gave up just their third goal of the season Saturday. Unlike the last time a ball slipped into their net, the offense couldn’t respond.
Mac-Hi (7-1, 4-1 GOL) dropped its first game of the season as the Ontario Tigers escaped town with a 1-0 victory, leaving Shockman Field in, well, shock.
After controlling the ball and the tempo in the first half while peppering the Ontario net with shots, the Tigers pulled a fast one on the Pioneers defenders right out of the gate following halftime. In the first minute of the second half, defender Martin Ortiz sent a soaring pass up the right sideline to take advantage of lackadaisical defenders. Forward Oscar Paredes corralled the bounding ball, ditched the remaining defender in front of the net, and laced a shot past a diving goalie Francisco Flores.
“They came right at us with everything,” Mac-Hi coach Jose Garcia said. “They got pumped up at half and really started attacking us.”
Garcia said his team wasted its opportunities in the first half when they had five shots on goal and played nearly the entire 40 minutes on the offensive end of the field.
The near-contact sparked some shoving on the field, a common sight in the second half that started physical and bordered on dangerous at times. Three yellow cards were dished out, including two to Ontario’s Ortiz, who was ejected.
“As the time starts to go by we all got a little desperate which led to some of that,” Mac-Hi defensive captain Alberto Garcia said. “Time was short but we should have slowed it down and found a way to score a goal.
“We can learn very much from just from a single loss; it opened our eyes and showed us what we need to do to become better as a team.”
Ontario (9-3, 5-1 GOL) is the only team to have Mac-Hi’s number this season, netting all three goals against the Pioneers. The Pioneers overcame the goals last time, beating Ontario 3-2 on the road two weeks ago. It had been straight shutouts up to that point.