Salem — Rivalries are one of the most exciting events that happen in high school sports, and Thursday night’s edition of the two oldest schools in Salem provided just about everything a rivalry game is supposed to. Entering tonight, North Salem has lost every meeting since at least 2013 to the Saxons, a hurdle that the Vikings looked to jump over and knock down on Thursday night.
Early in this one, both sides were fairly aggressive and even, but the Saxons soon gained controlled offensively and controlled the midfield game. Despite that, North Salem fended off a penalty kick and turned it into a goal by Nathan Martinez Sanchez to put the Vikings ahead 1-0 at halftime. South Salem came out much more aggressive in the second half, continuing to control the game offensively and putting themselves in numerous positions to tie the game up. Finally, in the 15th minute, Fernando Hildago tied the game up on a penalty kick and the Saxons broke through on their second penalty kick attempt of the evening. What transpired in the 28th and 29th minutes ultimately decided this one late in the second half.
In the 28th minute, after a strong play in the midfield, the Vikings blazed down the field and Jesus Martinez Lara drilled a shot that hit the top of the crossbar and appeared to go in until it was realized it was behind the net instead of in it. The momentum swing provided a spark of life to North Salem, but it was ultimately South Salem that came through in the end. Less than 45 seconds after the near goal, David Garcia Campos blazed a line drive shot to the corner of the net and passed a diving Jakob Jensen to put the Saxons ahead 2-1. Despite the many opportunities, South Salem would hang on to win it 2-1 and win yet again over North Salem.
After their comeback victory over the Vikings, Saxon players Fernando Hidalgo and David Garcia Campos talked it up about their win against rival North Salem. Hidalgo on the matching up against North, “I think it was evenly matched. The first half we struggled a bit early on and didn’t take advantage of our chances, but the goals came in the end and we did pretty good.” Hidalgo on South Salem’s firm offensive control, “We started with trying to keep the ball more and trying to possess more. From there we started to create more chances and we took advantage of those.” Campos on the 45 seconds of chaos, “It was scary when that ball almost went in, but it is what it is and I’m just happy we won. We got to score the other goal and its just good to win.”
North Salem’s Jakob Jensen and Edgar Arreola discussed the loss to South Salem, offering highlights and different perspective. Jensen on the Vikings defensive performance, “I think my teammates did a really good job, we just made a few mistakes and they capitalized on both of them. I know we could get better, but honestly they were really good.” Jensen on feeding off the crowd’s energy, “We really feed off the crowd so when we almost scored we were like “Lets go its fine” and when they score it was like “its ok were fine”, so just a wave of feelings.” Arreola on the positives of the game, “We learned about mistakes and playing too aggressive when we have to play with yellow cards, and just not being afraid of the ball when they are shooting it.”
North Salem falls to 0-2-1 this season and face Milwaukie on Tuesday, South Salem improves to 3-1-0 and travel to David Douglas on Tuesday.