Creswell, Sports Zone

Dawgs’ soccer season ends with state playoff loss

A 0-6 shutout by second-ranked Catlin Gabel in an OSAA 3A/2A/1A boys’ soccer state playoffs match on Oct. 30 ended the 15th-ranked Creswell Bulldogs’ run at the state championships, and their season.
“Last year we played the top-ranked team in state playoffs, and that team went on to win state. We lost 1-12, so we basically cut that score in half, which we really have grown quite a bit as a team,” said Creswell Head Coach Brandi Wittenborn.
While Catlin Gabel was able to keep the ball “dominantly on our side,” Wittenborn said, the Bulldogs managed to hold their opponent to just two goals in the first half.
“They’re just a spectacular passing team — which is what we’ve been working on — but we were competitive, and our defense held super strong,” Wittenborn said, citing Rogelio Legorreta and Nick Bronson as defensive “standouts.”
Creswell goalkeeper Jaxson Wilkerson also made 10 saves in the first half.
In the second half, the Bulldogs’ defensive blockade held until about the last 20 minutes of the game. “We just couldn’t hold them back anymore; they were just shelling us,” Wittenborn said.
“We tried, we gave it our best shot — but in the end the other team was just better.”
Wilkerson made a herculean 22 saves in the second half. “He had a phenomenal game,” Wittenborn said.
The Bulldogs got off just three shots on goal during the game; all in the first half.
The playoff loss to a top team “takes nothing away from our season and our improvement over last year,” Wittenborn said. “We fought hard and we were competitive.”
The Bulldogs had entered first-round state playoffs as the second seed from Special District 3, after defeating Pleasant Hill 1-0 in a league playoff game. The District 3 champion, Santiam Christian, was the district’s first seed to state.
The eighth-ranked Eagles got past ninth-ranked Umpqua Valley Christian 1-0 in their state playoff game, and then met top-ranked Oregon Episcopal School in a state quarterfinals match on Nov. 3, falling 0-6 to also be eliminated.
Out of 17 varsity players, the Dawgs will have 11 returners next season, but are losing a lot of key starters on offense and defense, including Wilkerson as goalie. But Wittenborn said she feels good about the team’s returning experience and incoming talent.
“We’ll be rebuilding in a sense,” she said, “but we’ll have some players stepping up from JV ready to take some spots, and we’ll see what the incoming freshmen bring us.”



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