Helena boys advance to quarterfinals with six-goal win

Published 5:30 pm Wednesday, April 28, 2021

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By SETH HAGAN | Special to the Reporter

HELENA – The Helena Huskies vaulted themselves into the Elite Eight Tuesday, April 27, as they turned a close game in the second half into a route advancing past Northridge 7-1 to the excitement of a big home crowd.

“We really played like a unit tonight, we played together, we moved the ball well and shifted well on defense,” head coach Klark Sammis said. “I give the team credit because they played their hearts out and never stopped playing, just an overall great effort tonight.”

Sophomore James Solorio had a big night from the start—as he’s become accustomed to having. At the 30:50 mark he took a cross and deftly popped it directly into the net with his left foot for the game’s first goal.

It didn’t take long for Solorio to make his presence felt again as he took one of many mad dashes toward the goalie box seven minutes later.

JT Carson perfectly placed a pass that found Solorio in stride already gassing the defender and meeting the ball a tapping it past the charging goalie. He limped away from the play and had to leave the game for a spell, but ultimately returned.

“He was on fire tonight when he was in the box, the hot foot tonight for sure and he’s actually our leading scorer for the year,” Sammis said. “So when he’s on, he’s on.”

The Huskies held a 2-0 lead at halftime, but that was put in dangers seven minutes into the second half. Helena was whistled for a foul in the penalty box giving the Jaguars a free shot at the goal.

They hammered the shot home and a game the Huskies had controlled to that point was suddenly thrown into question. However, Helena responded in mere seconds launching a fast break down the left side.

Cesar Gonzalez squirted free of the defense and fired a bullet into the upper right corner of the net to restore the two point advantage.

“That was a crucial moment in the game,” Sammis said. “It goes from a two goal game that we were kind of dominating to all of a sudden they’re back in it. In high school ball momentum is so huge and I was so proud of my guys to come back and score right away, they wanted it.”

From that moment on, the Huskies ruled the night. Eight minutes after the Gonzalez goal a long free kick near midfield bounced around in the goalie box and found Luis Robles who slipped a quick shot into the goal for a 4-1 lead.

Helena later broke the game open with three goals in the final eight minutes.

Matthew Blocker scored on a nice header from a corner kick with Saif Ghabayan and Ryan Scott adding goals in the final minutes. Even after a big postseason win, Sammis knows it’ll take an effort like this to reach the team’s ultimate goal.

“Consistency, so that movement that we had, the togetherness and the communication,” he said. “We just have to continue that on to survive and advance.”

Helena (12-8-1) is now set for a second rematch with county rival Pelham for a spot in the Final Four. The two will meet Friday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m.