Senior scores to lift Wildcats over Stayton in home win

by: GREG ARTMAN / FILE - Timmy Bourque (center), shown during a game against Portland-Cleveland earlier this season, scored the only goal of the match Sept. 17 as the Wilsonville boys soccer team edged Stayton at Randall Stadium.There’s a joke among members of the Wilsonville boys soccer team that their sweeper is their leading scorer.

Except it isn’t a joke. It’s true.

Through four preseason games, senior Timmy Bourque was the most prolific offensive weapon for the Wildcats.

“He’s stepping up and saving our butts (on defense), and he’s taking care of things on the offensive end as well,” Wildcats coach Ian Reschke said.

Bourque notched the only goal of the match Sept. 17 at Randall Stadium, where Wilsonville snagged a 1-0 triumph over Stayton.

The all-league defender’s skills have certainly provided an advantage for Wilsonville, which climbed to the top spot in the Class 5A rankings while improving to 3-1 in nonconference play.

Five days earlier, Bourque put away Tyler Martin’s throw-in pass for the only goal of the match in a 1-0 victory on the road against North Salem. It was the Wildcats’ second win over a Class 6A squad in three games.

This time around, Bourque converted Carlos Ulloa’s corner kick with about 10 minutes left in regulation to hand Stayton — a top-tier Class 4A squad — its first defeat of the season.

“Carlos can hit that ball pretty well,” Bourque said. “I just try to hang back, and the second you see where it’s gonna land you basically have to throw yourself and just smash it with your head.”

Bourque isn’t new to the attacking side of the game. He’s played at forward in the club ranks, and he’s had offensive opportunities during his career at Wilsonville.

But his impact as a scorer this season highlights the Wildcats’ heightened dependence on set pieces as they evolve without 10 graduated seniors and Portland Timbers academy player Rene Hernandez.

“We lost a lot of talent, so it’s, ‘What do we need to do to replace that?’” Bourque said. “We’re not the most skilled team, but we’re really scrappy. We get a lot of free stuff. We get the throw-ins. When we work, we’ll get a lot of opportunities. And a lot of goals in soccer are off set pieces, so we’ve been working on set pieces, practicing throw-ins. If we get a corner, we can throw me up top and I just try to put it in the back of the net.”

Added Reschke: “Our set plays are going to help make a difference this year because we’re having a tough time finishing chances. We’re creating chances and just can’t put it away.”

Reschke said Bourque’s size and finishing ability make him an asset on offense but added he’s even more important to Wilsonville’s success as a defender. He garnered second-team all-league honors last season.

Through four games, Bourque and his fellow defenders had allowed just two goals: one in their season-opening win at West Linn and another in a 1-0 loss to Portland-Cleveland.

Perhaps it’s because the defense was the least-decimated unit in the wake of the program’s massive personnel turnover. Bourque is surrounded by familiar players in fellow seniors Sam Parker and Andrew Fairrington.

“We’ve played together for two or three years, so we know each other really well,” Bourque said. “Everybody remembered what they’re supposed to do. There are not a lot of breakdowns.”

That institutional memory assisted the Wildcats as they thwarted a Stayton side that appears primed for another strong season after going 12-1-3 and reaching the Class 4A quarterfinals last year.

The Eagles, who also won the Oregon West Conference title last season, were averaging five goals per game this year entering their meeting with Wilsonville.

“They had a good offensive-minded team and very good attacking players, and our defense did a good job of shutting that down,” Reschke said. “I was very pleased with that.”

Thanks to offseason training, the Wildcats have also demonstrated talent beyond their starting lineup. Second-string players and reserves have proven to be capable substitutes in nonconference action, Bourque said.

“We were afraid we wouldn’t have depth, but when our guys come in off the bench there’s no drop-off in play level,” he said. “I think that’s why we’re catching teams by surprise.”

And the good news for Wilsonville, it seems, is that there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

“As far as figuring out our strengths and weaknesses, I’m 95-percent there,” Reschke said. “But as far as (the players) gelling and figuring out what they can actually do, they still have a lot of work to do. We’re maybe 60- or 70-percent full-bore. There are some things we need to get on the same page about. But once we do, we have some good things to look forward to.”

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