By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– West Salem has finally their way into the win-column this season.
After dropping their first four games 1-0, 3-0, 2-1 and 3-0, the Titans not only relied on their defense, but their offense came around. And, as it turns out, it started with a defender in their 3-1 victory over Oregon City. A penalty kick by junior defender Gavin Endler in the 36th minute that gave the West Salem offense a straight shot of adrenaline to the arm.
Cause it was after Endler’s goal that the Titan offense rallied and built upon the goal into halftime. Something that they carried into the second half that saw Caiden Hewett (46th) and Drew Zohner (55th) score. Those three goals outpaced West Salem’s goal total in the previous four games combined.
And they left a few unfinished opportunities on the table that could’ve added to their lead and given the Titans more of a breathable cushion, but they turned to their defense to help finish the job.
“It’s a good feeling definitely. Off that PK and just to get the score tied up, it really pumps up the team and it just feels really good just to get the defense up the field and get the offense started back up. It really how it is, it starts the offense back up and it really gives us a chance to score again and shows that we’re back in the game,” Endler said. “We definitely helped the midfield back a little more and not letting them push up as much because they had a nice counterattack that they almost got a goal. But you play it a little safer when you’re in the lead, but (tonight) will get the offense going more. To show us that we really can get shots on goal and that we really can finish.”
Their defense kept the pressing Pioneers at bay, with their physical play. Stepping to the challenge to keep the lead in check over the final 34 minutes after the squad took the lead earlier in the second half. It felt like one of those games that West Salem had hoped for that finally came to fruition Wednesday night at home as they close out non-league play on Tuesday against Canby at Canby at 7pm with the hopes to polish off their team as a whole before they enter Central Valley Conference play beyond their game with the Cougars next week.
“That PK was super helpful to get the offense going in the second half. I feel like our defense anchors us down and we just got to figure out our midfield as well and getting it going. I feel like our defense is super strong, I feel like our offense is getting going, but not connecting those passes in the midfield…we’re skipping lines and once we get the midfield going, I feel like we can be a real threat this year,” “It’ll be huge because I feel like we’re one of the better teams in the conference. We have a ton of talent.”
West Salem opens CVC play September 23 when they host North Salem at 7pm.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald