Boys Soccer: Mission Oak squanders home title match

Mission Oak loses Valley title 3-0 to Highland

TULARE – Mission Oak was one of two soccer teams in Tulare County to host a Valley Championship game, but couldn’t pull out the victory as they lost 3-0 to the Highland Scots.

Fans from both sides filled the limited seating at Mission Oak to create an energetic environment for the Division III Valley Championship game. The first half was tightly contested with strong defense and great goalie play on both ends. Following a scoreless first half, the Scots finally put the first point on the board in the 56th minute. A nice two-man game led to a well-placed cross pass which was then sent into the back of the net with a header.

The game stayed competitive before Highland finally took the wind out of the Hawk’s sails with another goal off a set piece in the 73rd minute. The defeat began to sink in for Mission Oak, but the final dagger came two minutes later off a long-range goal by Highland from about 20-yards out to put them up 3-0.

According to Mission Oak assistant coach Lee Myers, their opponents frustrated his team with their determination and physicality. The Hawks only have a handful of seniors, so the returners will be able to use this loss as fuel for next season.

“The season we had is invaluable for next season because it gives them a taste of victory, and a taste of the exhilaration and pride that they exhibited in making it as far as they did,” Myers said.

The Hawks finished the season 12-4-2 and tied for first in the East Yosemite League with Tulare Union. They came into the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in Division III and opened with a dominant 5-1 win over Roosevelt. They had a much closer game in round two as they narrowly defeated San Joaquin Memorial 1-0 to book their trip to the Valley Championship game.

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