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Girls soccer: Stability proving elusive for Canby

Injuries have forced coach Ben Winegar to experiment with many different lineups this season. Chloe Bell scores the team's only goal in a loss to Oregon City.


by: JEFF GOODMAN - Chloe Bell is surrounded by Oregon City players Oct. 8 at Cougar Stadium. The senior midfielder scored the Canby girls soccer team's only goal in a 4-1 setback.Canby girls soccer coach Ben Winegar could pinpoint the moment when he noticed doubt gaining traction in the minds of his players.

After his team was awarded a corner kick early in the second half of its Oct. 8 home game against Oregon City, senior Olivia Baggerly’s acrobatic header was denied at the goal line.

The Cougars lost their momentum, Winegar said, and ended up losing the match 4-1.

“Those frustrations creep in, and then doubt creeps in, and when that doubt creeps in it’s hard to get it out,” Winegar said. “As a group, we have to find a way to reset.”

Canby couldn’t recover in time to avoid its first loss to the Pioneers since 2011 and its only home setback against the Pioneers since joining the Three Rivers League in 2010. The teams played to a 2-2 tie in their first meeting this season.

For the Cougars (4-6-1, 2-4-1 in the TRL), who reached the state quarterfinals last year, it was the latest setback on what has been a particularly rocky journey.

They started the year without eight graduated seniors, including current Gonzaga forward Karley Baggerly, and injured sophomore Madison Shorter. Then they lost returning goalkeeper Brynn Stegmeier due to an undisclosed medical issue. Then they played four early games without junior Whitney Davis, an offensive spark who was battling illness.

And they’ve tried to maintain some semblance of order with a starting lineup that often includes three sophomores and two freshmen.

“This team’s gotta find its identity,” Winegar said with just three matches left in the regular season, including an Oct. 17 duel at Lake Oswego. “With so many injuries, we’re having to move so many things around. I’m constantly trying to figure out who’s playing where. There’s a lot of confusion. And we have a lot of new players — more than any other year I’ve been here. Things are coming together, but (against Oregon City) we just didn’t keep our calm.”

Canby’s lack of stability has been epitomized by its rotation of players in the box. Since the squad lost Stegmeier, four players — seniors Sarah Martin and Lilly Pruitt and sophomores Heoniya Sharabarin and Ashley Fegler — have taken turns between the pipes. Martin and Sharabarin each played a half against the Pioneers.

“When we talk about consistency, it’s really hard to get when we have none in the back,” Winegar said. “We’ve had to face a lot of adversity. It’s not an excuse, but it’s been a constant battle.”

The absence of Davis, who notched a hat trick in a preseason shutout of Portland-Westview, also created problems for the Cougars. Winegar responded by moving Baggerly from the back line to an attacking position, but her size, skill and experience were missed at the defensive end. So she returned to the rear.

“Trying to find what’s going to work best for this team has been so difficult,” Winegar said. “It’s been so challenging. Each time I move one piece around, it shuffles another piece. It’s been a really weird year. ... I’ve had to be more creative this year than I ever have before.

“But this team’s still gotta figure it out. They’ve gotta take ownership. They show moments, but the consistency isn’t there.”

Canby’s inconsistent play left it with a 2-0 deficit in the first half against Oregon City, which scored one goal on a breakaway in the 15th minute and another on a defensive breakdown about nine minutes later.

The Cougars engineered several early chances of their own, but five potential breakaways were nullified by offside penalties.

In the 33rd minute, after being deemed offside, Davis caught up with the ball, took a dribble and fired a shot past Oregon City goalkeeper Lizzy Coryell. Frustration appeared to be setting in.

“You can’t do anything about the ref,” Winegar said. “We work on (the timing). They do well at it in practice — and in games. That’s all I’ll say.”

Early in the second half, though, Winegar’s team seemed to channel its frustration. Just two minutes after the break, senior midfielder Chloe Bell scored a one-timer on a pass from sophomore Skylee Doman to bring the Cougars within 2-1.

But they failed to score again after Baggerly’s header in the 47th minute went begging.

The Pioneers, meanwhile, reclaimed their two-goal lead on a 20-yard strike in the 61st minute and scored the dagger on a rebound in the 73rd minute.

“We had a good talk at halftime, and they really started to want it,” Winegar said. “But this team struggles with patience. We have a culture of immediacy where you want it right now, and we have to be patient. We had great opportunities, but we can’t rest on those opportunities. As a group, we have to be patient.”



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