Wilsonville girls forced out against Crescent Valley
In the 2018 girls soccer season, Crescent Valley represented both a beginning and an ending for the Wilsonville squad. In the preseason, Wilsonville picked up its first win of the season against the visiting Raiders squad in a 5-3 shootout Sept. 18. On Wednesday, Oct. 31, Wilsonville was forced out of the playoffs in the first round after a 2-1 loss to Crescent Valley.
The first half did not go according to the Wilsonville script, as the visiting Crescent Valley squad got up a goal on the home team. With the Wildcats on the back foot, and having to adjust mentally to a physical Raider squad, Wilsonville found themselves working from a deficit.
"I think we got a bit rattled with them playing physical, we played in straight lines instead of sliding balls like we normally do up top," head coach Dwight Sheppick said after the game. "By not looking for the slots, we lost part of our attack, but it wasn't for lack of effort."
In the second half of play, Wilsonville immediately went on the attack. Freshman striker Lindsey Antonson had a shot on goal within the first minute of the second half, and it wouldn't be long until Wilsonville found itself a goal.
On a corner kick, freshman Dalton Mermis crossed the ball into the box where senior striker Teagan McNamee headed it in at 37:29 of the second half. The game was tied up 1-1.
"We've been working on set pieces a lot lately," McNamee said. "Me and Lindsey and (senior) Alexis (Leon-Guerrero) always try to get great balls from Dalton. She puts them through the middle or even bends them in."
The even score would not last long, as Crescent Valley put one past junior goalkeeper Kendall Taylor at the 32:33 mark. Once again, the Wildcats found themselves at a deficit, and once again the Wildcats turned up the pressure.
In the 25th minute, Wilsonville found itself with a pair of corner kicks and tried to work in another set piece goal. Both kicks were defended out by the imposing Crescent Valley backline. Part of the visiting team's defensive strength came from a lineup switch made earlier in the season when it moved striker Cali McClave to the defender position.
"We knew they made some changes," Sheppick said. "They moved their best striker to center back after our game because they knew that they had to make that change to get by us, if nothing else. They sacrificed some scoring by doing that. ... She's a terrific forward, but it was a good move on their part."
The two teams battled back and forth through the remainder of the second half, neither gaining too much advantage of the other. In the waning minutes of the game, Wilsonville was set to take a free kick when the center referee forced the kick to be restarted and replaced two different times. While the officials worked to determine where the ball was to be started, time was ticking off of the clock. The game was started up again and Wilsonville took several more stabs towards the Raiders goal, but were unable to convert.
"I was disappointed that they let the clock run while they were discussing what call should have been made or where the ball should have been played," Sheppick said. "It could have added more time, but I'm not a ref. I wouldn't want to be a ref. It may not have made a difference. But I would have liked to have a little more organization from them. But it's not on them, we just didn't finish the job today."
With the loss, Wilsonville fell to 9-7 overall, and had its eight game winning streak snapped. Despite the loss, senior McNamee still saw potential for the future of the program.
"Something I'm going to take away from playing at Wilsonville is that it's just a big family, the whole community," McNamee said. "Everyone supports each other, and I'm always going to remember this team. They always have each other's backs and we created something very special for the next few years to build upon."