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Injury-plagued Hawks ninth at Varsity Hawk Classic

It was a rough go of it for the Oregon soccer team at its own tournament on Friday and Saturday. The Hawks ended up playing for last place, where they trounced Genoa-Kingston’s jayvee squad 7-0.

In their other four games, they went 0-3-1.

“We had three starters (Jon Acosta, Berto Dominguez, Nick Zalzalah) on Friday with injuries,” Oregon coach Seger Larson said. “Two bad ankles and a hamstring from the Monday and Tuesday games. So, we played a very young team.”

Senior Eduardo Guzman led the team to a tie and close loss on Friday.

“He takes responsibility as a team, not as an individual. That shows a lot of maturity,” Larson said. “We ended up with freshmen and sophomores moving into starting roles.”

The Oregon Tournament is tough enough, without being shorthanded, as five games are played in a short period of time.

By the time the Hawks faced Princeton for its second contest of Saturday, Larson pulled many of his starters halfway through the game to rest them and prevent further injuries.

“Besides, we weren’t moving in the midfield,” Larson said.

Princeton, which took second to defending champ Woodstock in the championship game, beat Oregon 5-1. Sophomore Eli Rufer had Oregon’s lone goal.

Earlier, Elgin Westminster defeated Oregon 3-1. Another sophomore, Josh Sitze scored for the Hawks.

“Nick Zalzalah was able to play, but got a questionable red card (disqualification). That put us down to 10 players,” Larson said.

Against Genoa-Kingston, Oregon moved the ball at will. According to Larson, it was a learning experience for the team.

“With so many people injured and sitting on the bench, they’re beginning to see what I’ve been seeing as the coach,” Larson said. “The biggest takeaway for them is knowing and believing what we need to work on.”

After starting the season with eight home games, Oregon (1-4-2) travels to Winnebago on Thursday.

“Playing very young players was a good experience,” Larson said. “We’re trying to build a culture that hates losing.”

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