PLEASANT HILL — One commonality joined MICDS and Pleasant Hill in a Class 3 boys soccer state semifinal Saturday — appearing in the round for the first time.
The difference, though, came out of experience. The Rams entered the game with seven seniors, three juniors and one freshman in their lineup. The Roosters, on the other hand, had five sophomores, four seniors and two juniors.
MICDS’ advantage paid off at Eklund Field, winning 4-0 to extend the program’s best season.
MICDS (12-3) is scheduled to get a shot at a state championship against Orchard Farm (17-2) at noon Nov. 21 at Lake Country Soccer Complex in Springfield.
“It feels unbelievable,” MICDS head coach Jack Fischer said. “I could not be prouder of the boys for their commitment and their patience and their attention to detail this season. Thoroughly deserved, and I couldn’t be more thrilled for them.”
The Rams kept Pleasant Hill (16-5-2) away from the offensive side of the ball through most of the match. Therefore, they had plenty of offensive opportunities.
Roosters head coach Edson Ortiz attributed MICDS’ physicality to holding his team to less than five shots per goal.
“I didn’t spot a weakness,” Ortiz said. “They moved the ball quick, and we just had a lot of trouble adjusting to the quickness that they moved the ball.”
The Rams’ success began in the eighth minute as senior Hayden Fischer found the back of the net for the game’s first goal.
Hayden Fischer also assisted on a corner kick turned into a goal by junior Eric Nohara-Leclair five minutes before halftime.
“First and foremost, we have some pretty talented players, and when they share the ball they can be pretty dangerous,” Jack Fischer said. “I think we took advantage of some of the opportunities that we had, I think we could’ve had more but you know that’s the way it goes some times.”
Rams senior Walter Ralph extended the lead to 3-0 in the 47th minute, while junior Novo Onovwerosuoke added the final goal in the 72nd minute, which put a cap on Pleasant Hill’s furthest playoff trip in school history.
“It was nice to take the next step, making it to the final four,” Ortiz said. “We wanted to keep going, but it just didn’t work out, we had a really good team in front of us today.”