Sixth-ranked Lady Dawgs suffer first league loss

Aubrey De La Rosa, who scored Creswell’s first goal of the game, sends the ball up the field against Glide.

Story and photos by Gini Davis

The Creswell Lady Bulldogs suffered their first league loss last week, falling 1-0 to the host Santiam Christian Eagles on Oct. 14. The loss, which reversed the narrow 1-0 margin by which Creswell had defeated SC during the teams’ first meeting of the season, dropped Creswell to seventh in state 3A girls’ soccer rankings, while boosting SC to fourth.

“I knew this game would be our most important game of the season,” said Creswell head coach Brandi Wittenborn, noting that in addition to ending Creswell’s undefeated streak in league play “will probably determine where we finish in state (rankings) and may decide whether we get to host or have to travel for state playoffs.”

The Eagles scored their only goal toward the end of the first half. “We had a miscommunication on the field that cost us a goal,” Wittenborn said.

In the second half, Aubrey De La Rosa and Taylor Wittenborn were “all over the ball” for Creswell trying to even the score, but couldn’t manage to put in a goal.

“Overall it was a really good game,” Wittenborn said. “We definitely held our own, even with one of our key defensive players still out, and we probably outshot them. We just couldn’t get the win.”

Shelby Dunivin made eight saves in goal for Creswell.

On Oct. 16, the Lady Dawgs rebounded from that loss to defeat the visiting Glide Wildcats, 2-0. Three other goals – one in the first half and two in the second, two by Shea O’Connor and one by Kendra Hawken – were called back as offsides.

“The first-half one we were definitely off, but the other two were questionable whether we were,” said Creswell head coach Brandi Wittenborn.

Both teams were scoreless at the half, although Creswell outshot Glide approximately 50 to 3 for the game.

“We had a ton of shots, but their goalie is phenomenal – just top-notch,” Wittenborn said of the Wildcats’ senior goalkeeper, Hayley Livingston. “We’d cross the ball over, and she’d just put herself out there. She definitely saved them.”

De La Rosa scored the first goal for Creswell early in the second half, off an assist from Kalea Brick, and O’Connor scored the second goal off an assist from De La Rosa.

Still missing a key defensive player, Wittenborn shifted outside midfielder Elvia Velazquez to the stopper position. “She stepped up and played a position she’s not normally played and just did great,” Wittenborn said, adding that if she and assistant coach Ted Williams “had had to pick a Player of the Game it would definitely be Elvia.”

Dunivin made two saves in goal to earn the shutout for the Lady Dawgs.

“In the week’s two games overall I think we played really well, and are transitioning back to the team we started out to be,” Wittenborn said.