Evan Hallmark scored the go-ahead goal with less than one minute remaining in the first half as the Catlin Gabel boys’ varsity soccer team defeated the Oregon Episcopal Aardvarks 1-0 at Davis-Gant Field on homecoming night.
The night marked the first time in recent memory that both the boys’ and girls’ varsity soccer teams hosted OES on homecoming.
For Hallmark, a senior forward, the moment could not have been more special. “It feels amazing!” Hallmark said after the game. “It’s a wonderful experience being part of this team.”
The victory catapulted the Eagles (7-2-1, 4-0-0) into a tie atop the district standings.
“We came out to just play a regular game, just a regular league opponent,” senior forward Koby Yudkin explained. “We came out [and] tried to get three points, and we got three points. We’re 3-0”
The win came just hours after the Catlin girls’ varsity team fell to OES in a disappointing 2-0 match. The Eagles had no answer for the defending state-champion Aardvarks (7-1-1, 2-0-1). OES freshman midfielder Mikaelah McKinney-Griggs scored both goals, one in each half.
“I’m proud of our girls and the effort they put forth today,” girls’ varsity coach Lisa Unsworth said following the game. “We had them scared a couple times… that’s something we can build on.”
Despite some incredible saves from senior goalkeeper Emma Ronai-Durning, the Eagles fell to 1-2-0 in league play.
But the night belonged to the Catlin boys. “It was a great victory,” head coach Roger Gantz said. “We didn’t play our best and we were able to battle through… and get a result.”
Assistant coach Peter Shulman was also impressed with the team’s resolve, adding, “Tonight I saw men.”
For Yudkin, a senior co-captain who missed the opening weeks of the season with a hamstring injury, the moment was one to h
ang onto. “It’s sweet!” Yudkin said. “My senior year, I mean, I couldn’t really ask for anything better.”
The energy stayed with Catlin through Tuesday’s matchup against the Lions of Portland Christian (7-3-0, 3-1-0). The Eagles put on a clinic, emerging victorious in a lopsided 5-0 decision.
Both teams entered the match undefeated in league play and tied atop the district standings. With Tuesday’s win, Catlin gains a critical advantage in potential future playoff seeding.
“The great thing about this team is we’re only looking little segments ahead of ourselves,” Gantz said after the OES matchup. “…we’re taking it literally one game at a time.” Regardless of the game-by-game approach, the Eagles appear to be riding a wave of momentum from Friday’s Homecoming victory.