By Gini Davis
The Creswell Chronicle
The Bulldogs opened league play on the road last week, downing Central Linn 6-1 on Sept. 12 before dropping a 1-2 heartbreaker to Pleasant Hill on Sept. 14.
The score was tied 1-1 at halftime at Central Linn. Zach Culp scored for Creswell within the first three minutes, off an assist from Kobe Sanders, but the Billies answered.
“There was an unfortunate miscommunication between a defender and our keeper that allowed them to score, which sometimes happens – we’re still working out those kinks,” said Creswell Head Coach Brandi Wittenborn.
Creswell caught fire in the second half. Avel Garcia-Fetter scored within the first five minutes off an assist from Ethan Stephens. “It was absolutely such a beautiful shot,” Wittenborn said. “He collected the ball, turned around and shot from about 25 yards out into the right-hand top corner of the net. It was like a rocket.”
Garcia-Fetter also scored in the 75th minute, sending home a corner kick by Eddie Hernandez.
He also picked up a pair of assists, feeding goals by Christian Tucker and Stephens.
Stephens also scored twice, sinking a deflected shot for his second goal.
Jaxson Wilkerson had nine saves in goal.
“We played a great second half, but we talked about how we can’t allow ourselves to be just a second-half team, because strong teams like Pleasant Hill and La Pine aren’t going to give us that time,” Wittenborn said. “We need to put it all together for the whole game.”
Her team heeded that message, turning in a solid performance at Pleasant Hill, but came up just short as both teams pounded the opposing goal.
“We had plenty of opportunities, they just were not going in for us,” Wittenborn said. “We had some absolutely beautiful corners and some unfortunate head shots that went over the goal or shots that hit the bar.”
Wilkerson had 11 saves in the first half alone. “Jaxson played absolutely phenomenal,” Wittenborn said.
The Dawgs were down 0-1 at halftime, but tied the game about 10 minutes into the second half as Garcia-Fetter rocketed a left-footed direct kick into the top right corner. “It was a beautiful shot,” Wittenborn said.
With about 20 minutes remaining, Creswell was called for a handball in the box, setting up a Billies penalty kick, which scored for the win.
“It was a really good game – very physical, which it always is, and Pleasant Hill is definitely a better team than I’ve ever seen them; but aside from too many turnovers we played like we should be playing the whole game, and I look forward to playing them again,” Wittenborn said.