Creswell, Sports Zone

Soccer Dawgs net shutouts as playoff hunt heats up

Christian Tucker scored a hat trick as the Creswell Bulldogs recorded a pair of shutout victories in boys’ soccer action last week, downing host Central Linn 11-0 on Oct. 1 and host Pleasant Hill 1-0 on Oct. 3.
The Dawgs got on the board in the sixth minute at Central Linn, with Julian Nuñez scoring off an assist from Tucker.
Rogelio Legorreta and Tucker each scored an unassisted goal, and Avel Garcia-Fetter scored off an assist from Nuñez to give Creswell a 4-0 halftime lead over the coed Cobras.
Within the first three minutes of the second half, Cam Nguyen scored an unassisted goal and Tucker sent a direct kick sailing over the Cobra goalkeeper’s hand into the net.
Nuñez scored next, off an assist by Tucker, and Tucker capped his hat trick with an assist from Nguyen.
Grant Marshall scored off an assist from Legorreta; José Ayala headed in a goal, assisted by Garcia-Fetter; and Kobe Sanders iced the shutout with an assist from Tucker.
“Christian had a great game, with three goals and three assists,” said Creswell Head Coach Brandi Wittenborn.
Goalkeeper Jaxson Wilkerson made five saves for Creswell. Dawson Sharkey took over in goal for the game’s final 15 minutes, allowing Wilkerson to play on the field.
Despite the apparent ease of the win, Wittenborn noted that her team was shorthanded due to academic eligibility issues, illnesses and injuries. “We were down to the bare minimum; we played that game with just three subs,” she said.
A large Creswell contingent turned out to cheer on the still-shorthanded Dawgs at Pleasant Hill. “We had a huge crowd and it was just an awesome atmosphere,” Wittenborn said, noting her team had just two subs for that game.
As they had at Central Linn, the Bulldogs were pelting in shots and outshooting their opponents but struggled with offsides calls – and, at P-Hill, to find the back of the net.
“We had so many opportunities, but nothing was going in,” Wittenborn said.
Finally, with about three minutes remaining, Garcia-Fetter’s corner kick hit off Nguyen, was deflected up and out by the Billies’ keeper – “and then, out of nowhere, here comes Julian and he heads the ball into the back of the net,” Wittenborn said.
But the Billies weren’t done: Creswell fouled to set up a direct kick, which curved toward the outside corner of the Bulldogs’ goal; Wilkerson dove and made what Wittenborn termed “a phenomenal save,” pushing the ball out of bounds.
That set up a Pleasant Hill corner, which Creswell cleared, and the Bulldogs locked down on defense, blocking and clearing balls until the final whistle sounded.
“That game was electrifying,” Wittenborn said. “We needed that win, and we got it; it was pretty awesome. “I couldn’t believe how well we passed and talked; we had a few moments of lapse, but overall we played great and it was the best communication game I’ve seen them play – and kudos to Pleasant Hill, because they played a great game.”
The week’s wins boosted the Bulldogs to second place in league standings at 5-1-2 – just one game behind league-leader Santiam Christian (6-2). But with just four games remaining, four teams are still in the state playoffs hunt, including East Linn Christian and Pleasant Hill.
“Our goal is to win out,” Wittenborn said. “The guys know their backs are against the wall right now. They know they’ve just got to take care of business every single game.”



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