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Tale of two ties: Sweet Home’s boys stay alive in hunt for soccer playoffs

 

October 18, 2016

GOALIE Rowland Lupoli grabs the ball for a save against Sisters’ Sam Garbrecht.

For the first time in four years, Sisters did not win a Sky-Em boys soccer game, courtesy of a rising Sweet Home squad that tied the Outlaws 1-1 in Husky Stadium on Oct. 11.

It is the first time in program history that the Huskies did not lose to Sisters.

The Outlaws have lost only two games this year, against perrennial 4A front-runner Molalla and 5A-Division Summit. Opponents have scored eight goals against the Outlaws all season. Molalla and Summit scored five of them. Sweet Home has scored two.

“That tie at Sisters is so huge,” said Coach Eric Stutzer. It extends a season of firsts for his program, which included a win over Junction City.

“We lost their best player (Malachy Sundstrom) about 20 minutes into the first half,” Stutzer said. “He was able to squeak through and put the ball in the net.”

After that, Sweet Home was able to hunker down and hold off the Outlaws’ attack.

Stutzer pulled Alonso Perez out of midfield to the bench for about 10 minutes at one point in the first half. He sent him back in at forward.

Sisters lost track of him, and Perez broke away to score just before halftime. The teams were tied 1-1 at halftime.

The Huskies came back out strong, Stutzer said. Sisters players were frustrated, and they started drawing foul calls. Two received red cards, and one was ejected.

Playing a man down, most of the remaining game was on the Sisters’ defensive third.

“We had opportunities to win,” Stutzer said. “We couldn’t get the win, but we got the tie.”

With a 2-2 tie Thursday at Sutherlin Thursday, the Huskies were tied with Cottage Grove last week for third place in the league, each with 3-3-2 records.

Making the play-in round “would’ve been a lot easier if we would’ve beaten Sutherlin like we were supposed to,” Stutzer said.

The Huskies were ahead 2-1 when the Bulldogs scored a last-minute goal.

Winds were reaching 40 mph, and the rain was sideways, Stutzer said. He was soaked through his rain gear. The high winds affected his team’s communications. They couldn’t hear each other.

Before the last score, Sutherlin changed its lineup, Stutzer said. “We were all out of position.”

The Huskies were playing in front of their own goal, he said. They knocked it out the back, and Sutherlin scored it on a corner kick.

“Kudos to Sutherlin and their coach for sticking in there and getting the job done,” Stutzer said.

The Bulldogs scored first and early on a miscommunication by the Huskies, Stutzer said. Two defenders couldn’t hear each other, and they let a single Bulldog through to hit the net.

The Huskies took awhile to fight back, but they finally scored with about 10 minutes left on the first half when Tristan Graham came up from defense to tie the game.

The Huskies struggled through the first half to win contested balls, Stutzer said, but they came back in the second half, setting up a lot of combination play. He sent Quinn Dinsfriend to pull a double team off Austin Stevens, who got free with 10 minutes left to net a goal.

Because Cottage Grove fell to Junction City that night, Sweet Home is tied with the Lions, each with a 3-3-2 league record.

Cottage Grove was scheduled to face the Huskies in Sweet Home on Tuesday and will finish at Sisters on Thursday. If the Lions lose both those games, Sweet Home will finish ahead of Cottage Grove. Cottage Grove beat Sweet Home 1-0 and lost to Sisters 1-0 earlier this year.

Junction City is 3-5 and in fifth place. It was scheduled to host Sisters on Tuesday and face Sutherlin on Thursday. Junction City beat Sutherlin but lost to Sisters earlier this season.

RAMON MATEO fights past Sisters’ Maalachy Sundstrom, right.

Elmira, with a 4-2-2 record, was scheduled to play Sutherlin Tuesday and then Sweet Home on Thursday. Elmira beat the Huskies 2-1 in their last game.

Where league standings finish depends on the performance of each of these teams this week.

Sutherlin is 0-7-1 and in last place, while Sisters is 7-0-1 and in first place.

The Huskies were scheduled to play against Cottage Grove at 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Elmira at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. Both games are at home.

 
 

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