JOHN DAY - The Grant Union High School soccer team has played every team in its league, the 3A Special District 5, once so far.
With a 3-3 win-loss record, the magic number is three. While currently ranked in percentage points for fifth place in the conference list, the Prospectors are fighting to place third for the chance to go to state.
After a bye week allowing them to regroup this week, the Pros will play each of their league opponents again: Burns, Umatilla, Central Christian, Irrigon, Culver and Riverside. That should give them plenty of opportunity to shake up the current order.
They've lost to Central Christian (1-2), Umatilla (1-8), and last week, Riverside (1-9).
They've defeated Irrigon (10-0), Burns (11-3) and, most recently, Culver (3-0).
While the Prospectors' soccer games are normally held in late afternoon at the John Day Seventh Street Complex, the Sept. 28 match with the Culver Bulldogs was at 7 p.m., under the lights of Grant Union's Three Flags Field.
Prospector senior and team captain Jared Stearns scored one goal in the first half of the game. Junior Omar Medina put in two during the second.
"The team has played pretty well lately," said coach Chris James. "Both offensively and defensively, it's all coming together for us."
They faced Riverside, the strongest team in the league, Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Pirates' home field. The contest was tough, as expected.
"We knew what we were up against," said James.
While the Pirates scored nine times, Grant Union became the only team so far to score on Riverside.
Sophomore Trent Sohr put in a solid shot from 30 yards for the Prospector point.
"Trent is a distance player, and out there he put in a shot and it ended up going in," the coach said.
"We're only the second team that hasn't been mercy-ruled (shut out by 10 points) by Riverside. We played all right. We could've played a little better, but the team played pretty well," James added.
The coach saw pacing as a problem for his team.
"Generally, we're pretty slow coming out of the game, getting organized and scoring well. Riverside is just busting hard, ready to go at the first whistle," he said.
The Prospectors are in practice this week. Their next match is for homecoming; they'll host the Burns Hilanders at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, at the Seventh Street Complex.
"We'll be thinking about how many goals we need to score, what we've done with our opponents," said James. "We'll work on different structures and formations, focus on them, and get more defensively-minded."