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Wildcats upend Class 6A team for first since since 2010

The Wilsonville boys soccer team didn’t seem to accept the notion that it’s in a transition year.

With a drastically different starting lineup than the one on the field a year ago, the Wildcats surprised West Linn with a 3-1 triumph in their season opener on the road Sept. 3.

“Considering we only have one returning starter from last year’s quarterfinal team, I was thoroughly impressed with this team’s will to win,” Wilsonville coach Ian Reschke said. “West Linn had more soccer talent than we did, and we were lucky at times, but there is a saying that fortune favors the bold and that was certainly the case.”

It was an unusual win for the Wildcats, who had gone 0-3-4 in their previous seven season-opening games. It was also the program’s first victory against a Class 6A team since it edged North Salem at home Sept. 16, 2010.

Wilsonville (1-0) accomplished the feat without its large class of graduated seniors, including several all-league honorees, and without Portland Timbers academy player Rene Hernandez. Last year’s squad was one of the last eight standing in Class 5A.

The Wildcats, who were scheduled to face Portland-Cleveland at home Sept. 10 before meeting North Salem on the road at 7 p.m. Sept. 12, didn’t engineer an ideal start in their opener against the Lions (0-1).

Although they had several scoring chances early in the first half, they couldn’t capitalize and instead fell behind when West Linn scored about 20 minutes into the game.

But Reschke’s inexperienced team showed impressive resolve.

About 10 minutes later, Tyler Martin tied the match on a rebound from the end line about six yards away from the post. The original strike was a 25-yard free kick by Garrett Bonnell.

“Tyler followed up the shot and hit a left-footed bullet off the far post and in,” Reschke said.

In the second half, the Wildcats took their first lead when Sam Laurin netted a rebound after a counterattack shot by Martin. Bonnell set up the goal with a nice ball behind the defense.

“Martin shot toward the far post, but the West Linn keeper got a hand on it to keep it out of the net,” Reschke said. “Fortunately for us, Sam Laurin was making a delayed run on the far post and was able to poke it in the net for the go-ahead goal.”

Wilsonville unveiled its dagger in the final 20 minutes of the game. After receiving the ball from Kyle Roberts, Bonnell evaded a defender and launched a 30-yard laser into the upper-left corner of the net.

“It is one of the best goals I have seen in person at any level,” Reschke said.

Reschke said he was also impressed by his team’s defense, which prevented the Lions from scoring after halftime.

“What happened in the second half surprised everyone, including ourselves,” he said. “West Linn definitely came out with fire in the second half and threatened our goal several times. We weathered the storm, though, and showed some real grit in the line of fire.”

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