Cottage Grove sentinel. (Cottage Grove, Or.) 1909-current, October 04, 2017, Page 9B, Image 21

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    COTTAGE GROVE SENTINEL October 4, 2017
Cottage Grove boys' soccer faces its challenges
By Zach Silva
The Cottage Grove boys’ soccer team is hav-
ing their most successful season since the 2009
team that went to the state semifi nals. But while
the Lions are fl ying high through the Sky-Em
League and are currently 6-0-1, the biggest
obstacle that they face is the lack of competition
in league play.
“We’re a lot weaker than we have been in the
past,” said head coach Vern Stewart. “Sky-Em
league has been tough in the past. Last year we
fi nished in the fourth position and made it to the
playoffs because of how strong the league was,
how strong Sky-Em was. It’s not as strong this
After having played every team in the league
once, the Lions are currently undefeated in
league play. Additionally, they are the only team
in the league that is above .500 in the overall
standings. The OSAA rankings currently have
the Lions at 6th in the state while the rest of Sky-
Em is 17th, 20th, 32nd, 36th and 39th respective-
ly out of the 40 teams in 4A soccer.
In league play, they have outscored their op-
ponents this season 31-5 for a positive goal
differential of +26 on the season. The combined
average goal differential for the fi ve other teams
in Sky-Em is a stunning -16.8.
While the Lions have a real chance to go unde-
feated in league, it is hard to tell what that will
reveal about how good this team is on the state
level. The other diffi culty is that due to forest
fi res at the beginning of the season, the Cot-
tage Grove non-league schedule was cut short
because of poor air quality. They were unable to
play in their preseason jamboree and their non-
league games between Creswell and Phoenix.
Notably, Phoenix is ranked fi fth in 4A, just one
spot ahead of Cottage Grove.
The one game that they did play in was against
Philomath that resulted in a 0-0 tie. But Stewart
believes that his team is different today then it
was when they played that game.
“If that game happened today there is no doubt in
my mind that we would have put the ball in the
back of the net,” he said.
To adequately prepare for playoffs, Stewart is
planning to play in some tune-up games between
the end of the regular season and the start of the
postseason. Because of the games that were can-
celled, the Lions are allowed to schedule games
to prepare.
“I’m going to try and get someone strong in
preparation for that,” said Stewart. “Someone
hopefully out of our league that hasn’t played
enough games and that can play a game.”
Top right Kyle Conley, bottom left Lathan Vanwagner, bottom right Konrad Raum take on Sutherlin on September
21. Lions won the game 9-0.
The Cottage Grove boys' soccer team is in the middle of its most winning season in eight years but head coach
Vern Stewart says the Sky-Em League is still a hurdle. The team is currently 6-0-1 in the league and says the
biggest obstacle is a lack of competition.
Follow CG sports games as they
happen at @sports_cghs on
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