La Salle Prep junior Vance Sheffield (10) scored four goals in his team's 6-0 season-opening win at Bend. (Photo by Sam Valdez)
La Salle Prep junior Vance Sheffield (10) scored four goals in his team's 6-0 season-opening win at Bend. (Photo by Sam Valdez)

Junior forward Vance Sheffield has come out firing this season for La Salle Prep's boys soccer team, ranked No. 3 in the OSAAtoday 5A preseason coaches poll.

The 6-foot-1 Sheffield scored four goals in 60 minutes of the Falcons' season-opening 6-0 win at Bend, including three in the first 12 minutes. He followed that the next day by recording a hat trick in 40 minutes of La Salle Prep's 8-0 victory at Caldera.

Sheffield, a third-year starter, is coming off a season in which he collected a team-high 21 goals for the Falcons, who reached the 5A semifinals.

La Salle Prep coach Monty Hawkins said Sheffield is showing “more poise, more precision in the box, and a better understanding of how to move in the box. He's a pure finisher. He gets on the end of service, and he finishes. He's dedicated himself to this.”

Hawkins sees an improved “maturity and conviction” in Sheffield's approach to goal-scoring.

“He's making much better runs, he's finding himself on the end of things, and he's playing things simpler,” Hawkins said.

Sheffield is benefiting from the tutelage of Danny Mwanga, the former Lake Oswego girls assistant who has joined La Salle Prep's staff this year.

Mwanga was a prep standout at Jefferson and a Pac-12 Conference player of the year at Oregon State before being selected No. 1 in the 2009 MLS Draft. He has been working with Sheffield since March.

“I give Danny a lot of credit,” Hawkins said. “Vance has his mentor, tutor. I put them together, just saw like a glove fit. I just wanted to see if they could build a relationship.”

Mwanga developed a relationship with Hawkins after immigrating to Portland from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2006. In high school, he lived with Hawkins and played on his club team. He is the godfather to Hawkins' three children.

“I knew Danny and I someday would be coaching together again,” said Hawkins, who officiated Mwanga's wedding in Oct. 2021.

Under Mwanga's wing, Sheffield is catching the attention of college coaches. Among those showing interest are Oregon State, Gonzaga, Seattle and Portland, according to Hawkins.

“He's a finishing presence, which obviously is attractive to coaches,” Hawkins said.

For the first time, Sheffield is pulling double duty this fall as a placekicker for La Salle Prep's team. He has showed off his powerful leg in practices.

“He's demonstrating his athletic ability,” Hawkins said of Sheffield, who also is a starting guard for the Falcons' basketball team. “He's a natural for placekicking. He kicked a 50-yard field goal with room to spare in tennis shoes. The kicking coach said he'd never seen anybody kick like that except an NFL kicker.”

La Salle Prep (2-0) gets a big test Thursday when it plays at 6A No. 1 Jesuit (1-1), the reigning state champion.

5A girls showdown

No. 1 Wilsonville got goals from Kenley Whittaker in the 17th minute and Brooklyn Bybee in the 54th minute for a 2-0 home win over No. 2 Caldera in a 5A showdown Tuesday.

The Wolfpack (2-1) beat Crook County 2-0 and La Salle Prep 6-2 in its first two games, but couldn't find the net against the reigning state champion Wildcats, who were playing their season opener.

Wilsonville got payback for a 2-0 loss at Caldera in its first game last season.

“This was a true team win,” Wildcats coach Alex Boehm said. “We're proud of our squad's ability to execute the game plan, and each player brought the intensity and discipline the match required.

“Caldera is a quality team with lots of pace and movement on the pitch, and this first game helped us learn where we need to keep developing. We're excited to call this performance our starting point.”

Marist's Chase erupts

Marist Catholic senior midfielder Cloe Chase, who has committed to Oregon, got her season off to a fast start Tuesday at Churchill.

Chase had five goals and one assist as the reigning 4A champion Spartans rolled to a 6-0 win over the Lancers. Marist Catholic also got a goal from freshman Tori Sherman and four assists from freshman Libby McLaughlin.

Spartans coach Stefan Schroffner said that Chase, who had 27 goals and eight assists in 16 games last season, may be “the best attacking midfielder in the entire state.” She is the No. 44 college prospect in the nation, according to

“Cloe’s game performances will always be highlight-reelish,” Schroffner said. “For me, Cloe will always be a memorable and legendary player within our Marist soccer community.”

Saxons tie No. 1 Jesuit

South Salem, unranked in 6A, surprised top-ranked and reigning state champion Jesuit on Tuesday by playing the host Crusaders to a 2-2 tie.

The Saxons made it 1-0 in the 20th minute when junior Merveille Kilongo converted from 20 yards out off a long pass from senior Josue Ruelas. Jesuit got the equalizer in the 33rd minute from junior Grant Sasaki.

South Salem took a 2-1 lead with 10 minutes left when freshman Abdiel “Chino” Gonzalez Reyes took a pass from Jay R Flores and slotted it past the keeper from about 18 yards. The Crusaders pulled even at 2-2 with about five minutes left on a goal by senior Pablo Salazar Rodriguez.