Creswell, Sports

Boys’ soccer splits week, readies for playoffs

The Bulldogs suffered a 0-2 shutout to host Santiam Christian on Oct. 15 before eking past visiting East Linn Christian in a 1-0 shutout on Oct. 17.
Splitting the week’s games dropped Creswell from sole possession of second place in league standings into a tie with Pleasant Hill for that position.
Santiam Christian scored once in each half against Creswell.
“They were just playing better than us; they outhustled us,” said Creswell Head Coach Brandi Wittenborn. “When we’re ‘on’ we’re really good — and we’re one of the best defensive teams in the state, having given up just nine goals this season. But we’re just not consistent.”
Goalkeeper Jaxson Wilkerson made 16 saves for the Bulldogs.
Against East Linn Christian, Christian Tucker got Creswell on the board in the first half, off an assist from Ethan Stephens.
“We were moving the ball around well, up from the defensive end, and Christian just sent a beautiful shot from the right side of the field from outside the box into the opposite corner of the goal,” Wittenborn said. “It was so pretty.”
From that point on, the Bulldog defense locked down while trying to score again. “We had opportunities that hit the post or went right to the keeper, or we didn’t take shots we should’ve taken; that’s been our story all season – but at least we got the win,” Wittenborn said.
Wilkerson made 12 saves in goal for Creswell.
With league champion Santiam Christian (9-2) guaranteed first seed to state and just one game remaining, three teams — Creswell (7-2-2), Pleasant Hill (7-2-2) and East Linn Christian (7-4) — remain in contention for second and third place in league. Once decided, the second- and third-place teams will play off — with number two hosting — for the league’s second state bid on Saturday, Oct. 27.
“It’s still up in the air, depending on who wins and who loses this week between us, Pleasant Hill and East Linn Christian,” Wittenborn said. “Santiam Christian is first no matter what — but for all three of those teams, it’s do-or-die.”