Thursday, October 6, 2022

Red Raiders win big in sectional semifinal

Harvey opened the postseason with a 5-0 win over visiting Jefferson in a Division II sectional semifinal on Tuesday.

The sixth-seeded Red Raiders advanced to face No. 3 Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin on Saturday.

“It was crucial, especially because we not only got the win but this gave our team, especially our freshmen, confidence going forward,” Harvey coach Natalie Sisler said about the fast start to the postseason.

Omar Morales Pacheco recorded a hat trick in the win and Roberto Marquez and Eron Nila both scored a goal for the Red Raiders.

Morales Pacheco, Jose Pacheco, Oscar Nila and Ethan Hach each recorded an assist in the win and Hach posted two saves in goal.

“Our team’s communication, passing and touch on the ball were all near perfect,” Sisler said. “We haven’t connected passes this well all season. Our buildup was strong out of the back and we were able to maintain possession for extended periods of time. Throughout most of our season, our lineup was still being adjusted, however, for the past few games we have found a lineup that works and the chemistry was great.”

Despite the success in the passing game, the Red Raiders struggled to finish close range shots.

“The majority of our goals were from outside the 18,” Sisler said. “Our players seem to be gaining more confidence so they are taking those shots from outside the box that they normally would pass up.”

The Red Raiders have their work cut out for them in Saturday’s sectional final at NDCL but they’ll be ready for the challenge and the pressure.

“Win or go home,” Sisler said. “Our team is finally playing with a sense of urgency that I have been waiting for all season, especially from our seniors. The seniors really want to end their careers on a high note so the focus has definitely elevated.”

Harvey improved to 7-9-1 on the year and entered the postseason with plenty of confidence following some adjustments to the starting lineup.

Freshman forward Rod Coffee and junior defender Luis Saldana both returned from early season injuries providing the Red Raiders with another scoring threat up top and another lockdown defender in the back.

“I feel we are a different team now than a couple of weeks ago,” Sisler said. “Besides the additions of these players returning from injury, I feel this team has a positive chemistry now with guys who are committed to this team. Having Rod and Luis also give us a morale boost because they raise our team’s talent level and make us a tough team to beat.”

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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