KENNEWICK -- There might not be anything the Pasco boys soccer team can do to claim the CBBN 3A league title after sliding out of first place last week.
But after absorbing a pair of mentally deflating shootout losses to Eastmont and Sunnyside, the perfect remedy awaited the Bulldogs on Saturday at Lampson Stadium.
Jordan Angeles scored twice, and Pasco recorded its seventh shutout this season with a most welcome 3-0 victory over Kennewick that snapped a two-game losing skein.
"We needed this win. After that first loss (to Eastmont), everybody started feeling bad," said Angeles, who doubled his goal total on the year to four. "We're trying to stay in our spot and maybe get back into first."
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Southridge (13-2, 11-2 CBBN 3A) currently holds the top spot after picking up its fifth straight win -- a 2-1 road victory at Eastmont.
The Bulldogs (12-3, 11-3), who have beaten the Suns twice in the regular season, have one game left -- they play host to West Valley at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Edgar Brown Stadium -- before district playoffs begin on Thursday.
Southridge also has one regular-season match remaining, Tuesday against Kamiakin at Lampson. A Suns' victory would give them the outright CBBN 3A title -- the first-ever league championship in program history.
All Pasco can do is concentrate on its own journey through the playoffs.
"We're certainly fine (with the No. 2 seed). Our objective is to make the playoffs. Then we can focus on winning our first game, and then the next," said Bulldogs coach Matt Potter. "It's good to get back on track after losing the last two in shootouts."
Kennewick has tested Pasco in several matches over the last few seasons, and this one was no exception. The Lions outshot the Bulldogs 18-17 and actually put more shots on frame (4-3), but Pasco managed to get the most of their opportunities.
"We played well. We just didn't play well for a full 80 minutes," said Kennewick coach Brian Gochoel. "I believe in them. I just need them to believe in themselves."
The Lions did suffer a devastating loss in the 18th minute, losing senior goalkeeper and captain Jared Gower for the season. Gower, a four-year starter, jumped up to grab a corner kick from Jovan Rojas and tipped the ball into the air. Bulldogs midfielder Jose Madrigal tried to make a play on the tipped ball and collided with Gower in front of the goal.
Gower managed to snag the ball to keep the game scoreless, but he didn't have time to break his fall and dropped hard to the turf, hitting his head on the ground. He was knocked out initially and remained unconscious for more than a minute while trainers, coaches and his parents attended to him.
Paramedics and firefighters arrived on the scene while Gower's neck was immobilized, and he was immediately taken to Kennewick General Hospital for tests.
A CAT scan revealed no serious damage, but Gower did suffer a serious concussion and likely will miss the rest of the season.
"Even if we make the run of all runs to state, I don't think he can play another match," Gochoel said. "He was vomiting in the emergency room. I can say with almost absolute certainty, he's done."
With Gower out, the Bulldogs put the heat on interim goalie Agustin Herrera, a junior who started the game at left fullback. In the 27th minute, Angeles settled under a header cleared off the Lions' back line and volleyed it past Herrera from 12 yards out for a 1-0 lead.
"Those are tough. If you hit it hard, it could go high or it could go wide," said Angeles, who added a goal in the second half off an assist from Rojas.
Herrera was replaced in the second half by senior keeper Angel Romero, who reportedly played with a broken thumb.
Scoring--1, P, Jordan Angeles, 27:00; 2, P, Jovan Rojas, 30:00; 3, P, Angeles (Rojas), 58:00. Shots--P 17, K 18. Saves--P, Jose Ramos 4. K, Jared Gower 1, Agustin Herrera (18:00), Angel Romero (40:00).