Boys post first soccer shutout in four years with 2-0 win over East Linn


September 21, 2022

Kristine Banker

Ben Tolman is all concentration as he fields a ball against East Linn Christian Sept. 13.

With a 2-0 home win against East Linn Christian Academy on Sept. 13, the Sweet Home boys soccer team posted its first three-win season in four years, improving its record to 3-1.

Head Coach Eric Stutzer said it was also the first time the Huskies have forced a shutout in four years.

"It was one of our goals going into the game, that we did not want to let them get anything on the board," the coach said. "I'm very happy with the defensive end. There are some things that we need to shore up on the offensive end, especially with our playmakers in the middle and our outside wing play, but other than that, it was good to get the win."

The Huskies' first goal came 15 minutes into the game, when midfielder Ben Tolman scored on an assist from forward Colton Savri.

"We had really good buildup in the midfield and the front side, and great shape," Stutzer said of the goal. "A ball came deep, and Savri took it to the baseline and popped it right back out in the middle where Tolman was supposed to be in that attacking playmaker position. And then it was a great shot."

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Sweet Home scored again 20 minutes into the second half, when Savri capitalized on a through ball from midfielder Landon Savri.

"I was really happy that we were able to get into the attacking third," Stutzer said. "We were right on par with where we want to be this season, getting into the attacking third and getting opportunities."

He said that midfielder and defender Chris Christman played an "absolutely smashing game. He just shut people down in the middle of the field."

Goalkeeper Evan Towry made what Stutzer called a "phenomenal" save over his head, flipping the ball over the crossbar.

Still, there was room for improvement. "It really felt like the score should have been a lot better than it was," Stutzer said. "We could have put a few more points on the board than we did, and not made it such a tight game."

"I really felt like we struggled with missed opportunities," the coach explained.

"We were really lazy on the front end, and we weren't getting back on the ball fast enough. So we were getting a lot of balls in transition that we were in an offside position on. We've really got to clean that up. Those are just wasted opportunities."

He added that "It gets to the point where you do that so many times that the ref starts keying on that, and I really felt like we could have done a lot better job on offsides calls. Part of that was having too many guys forward into the attacking third, which is something that we need to work on."

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The coach noted that "We're still young and trying to get into the system of play that we want to be in. I also felt like we could have gotten balls out wider a lot better. We were having a hard time getting balls out wide, much the same as we were in the last game against Elmira."

The loss put East Linn, a 2A school, at 1-2-1 on the year.

Kristine Banker

Cooper McKinnon takes the ball past the Eagles' Josie Grunerud.

Sweet Home starts league play this week with a home match against Stayton (4-0) at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22.

See more photos in our online gallery.


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