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Huskies get tough introduction to this season's Oregon West boys soccer


September 18, 2019

Sweet Home’s young boys soccer team lost lopsided opening league games last week to a couple of the Oregon West’s top teams, 19-0 to Woodburn on the road Sept. 10 and 8-0 at home Thursday.

“Woodburn, definitely, they look really good, better than they did last year,” said Coach Eric Stutzer. “They could compete for the title at any level this year.”

The Huskies “just didn’t show up to play” in the first half, Stutzer said. “They were shell-shocked.”

That’s something to expect, with so many new, young players on his roster, he said. They got on the field with just 15 minutes to warm up and encountered “the monster that is Woodburn.”

The Bulldogs scored goals at a rate of about once a minute for the first five, Stutzer said. By halftime, when he could get the Huskies off the field and get them focused, Woodburn had more than 10 goals.

He made some adjustments, and the players got their emotions under control, he said. They played much better in the second half.

The Huskies had the same issue with Philomath after being shellacked by Woodburn, Stutzer said, noting that causes issues in the next game. Philomath came out strong while the Huskies were “flat as a pancake.”

“We did not right the ship until halftime,” he said. Philomath was ahead 5-0.

“At halftime, they came out and played better,” Stutzer said, and they gave up just three more goals, one a ricochet off the goalie.

They didn’t get a shot against Woodburn, Stutzer said. They had two breaks where Woodburn defenders had to slide tackle to stop a play, but the Huskies offense had no real penetration.

Against Philomath in the second half, the Huskies had quite a few good looks and opportunities, Stutzer said. His team got off a couple of shots, but Philomath had a quick defender the Huskies couldn’t get past.

“There was no way we were going to outrun him to the goal,” Stutzer said. “Philomath was very, very strong in the middle of the field.”

Sweet Home is scheduled to host Stayton Tuesday and then Lebanon at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

They’ll host Cacsade on Tuesday, Sept. 24, “which is probably the first game where we can be competitive,” Stutzer said. At this point, the success of the team is about the kids facing adversity and rising above it.

The team’s leaders are stepping up, he said, and some things are going to change, going forward, he predicted.

“The kids are aware of where we’re at,” Stutzer said. “Our determination is going to carry us.”

Once that determination translates into teamwork, “we could surprise some teams by the end of the season,” Stutzer said.

The team is running 23 to 24 players now, Stutzer said, and a JV team will start playing a schedule, which will give the younger players some experience on the field without facing teams like Woodburn’s varsity.


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