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Pirates win 10th straight, move to quarters

November 10, 2011
Phoenix High School

Whether it's been with offense, defense or a mix of both, the Phoenix boys soccer team has continued to find ways to win.

On Tuesday, the Pirates kept the pressure on Cottage Grove and finally saw their offensive efforts rewarded in the 75th minute when Hunter Sunitsch scored, giving Phoenix a 1-0 victory in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs at U.S. Cellular Community Park.

The Pirates (12-3-1), who have won 10 straight, will host either Cascade or La Salle Prep in a state quarterfinal match on Saturday.

"Defense ruled," Phoenix head coach Dennis Flenner said. "That is how we roll."

Sunitsch, a senior and team captain, scored from about 6 yards out on an assist by Jesus DeLaCruz. The play was set up by a corner kick, which saw the ball take flight, get kicked around and then get headed over by DeLaCruz.

Phoenix, the Skyline Conference champion and top-ranked team in the 4A Oregon School Activities Association rankings, had several chances to score in the contest. The Pirates outshot the Lions (8-6-1), 14-4.

"We had a shot hit the crossbar, go straight down and bounce out and other shots hit the metal," Flenner said. "All in all, we took care of business and now we move on."

Leading the defensive charge was senior Junior Esqueda, whom Flenner said closed down Cottage Grove's go-to player, Pablo McCoy.


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