Jets eliminated in second round on road against Washington

Posted 3/24/21

SILER CITY — The Jets’ awe-inspiring year officially came to an anti-climatic end over the weekend.

A season that featured plenty of postponements and unforeseen circumstances culminated in a …

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Jets eliminated in second round on road against Washington

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Posted

SILER CITY — The Jets’ awe-inspiring year officially came to an anti-climatic end over the weekend.

A season that featured plenty of postponements and unforeseen circumstances culminated in a messy second round of the NCHSAA 2A men’s soccer playoffs on Saturday, where the Jordan-Matthews Jets were downed on the road by the Washington Pam Pack, 4-2, being eliminated from the postseason and finishing the year with an 11-2 overall record and a PAC 7 conference championship.

The game was originally scheduled to be played on Thursday at Riverside High School, but due to inclement weather — something Jordan-Matthews has been all too familiar with this season — it was pushed to Friday night. Then, poor field conditions at Washington moved the game back to Saturday at 4 p.m. at P.S. Jones Middle School.

Jets’ head coach Paul Cuadros said he wasn’t aware of the potential change until it had already been made.

“Washington was able to convince the state to move this game to a middle school in Washington and those conditions were not good,” Cuadros said. “They had already secured permission to do this before consulting us. That did not favor our style of game.”

After the two and a half hour trip to Washington, the field the Jets found at P.S. Jones was, according to Cuadros, smaller than a typical high school field and had grass that hadn’t been freshly mowed.

It wasn’t suited for the way Jordan-Matthews hoped to play.

“We were playing against two opponents on Saturday: the first opponent was Washington, the soccer team, and the second was the conditions and travel that we had to do,” Cuadros said. “The ball just moved slowly and that was not conducive to our style of possessive play and moving the ball around.”

In the first half, the Pam Pack had the wind to their back, allowing them to play exactly the style they game-planned for — kicking the ball into the air and using the wind to their advantage rather than keeping the ball on the ground.

This helped Washington get out to an early 2-0 lead, but the Jets battled back.

Jordan-Matthews sophomore Zander Ocampo scored a goal off of an assist from Alexis Ibarra, who split the defenders and delivered a nice centering pass for Ocampo to set up the score.

Later in the half, however, with the game at 2-1, the Jets had an opportunity for a penalty kick on a handball call in the box. But the officials convened and determined it should be a non-call.

“We were looking to equalize and we would have gotten that penalty kick,” Cuadros said. “We didn’t prevail on that call and that would have changed the tone of the game. It wasn’t our day.”

Washington added a goal before halftime to make it 3-1. Jordan-Matthews was able to settle down and get back into a rhythm in the second half, but the most the Jets could muster was a goal by senior Cristian Escobedo with five minutes remaining in the game, making it 4-2.

“We started creeping up on them, but it was just too little, too late to come back from that deficit,” Cuadros said. “We didn’t get the lucky breaks that came normally for us.”

Despite the end of the year coming sooner than the Jets hoped, a conference title and an 11-2 record, including a final loss to an unbeaten Washington squad in less-than-ideal field conditions, was something to be proud of, he said.

“After the game, I told the guys that we had actually done some wonderful things for this season and overcome a lot of obstacles, and I think everybody has who’s played high school athletics this season,” Cuadros said. “We’re extremely grateful that we were able to get a season in and that we played this beautiful game.”

Reporter Victor Hensley can be reached at vhensley@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @Frezeal33.

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