By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.— As the girls of Stayton’s Girls Soccer team wrapped up the first half of their Oregon West Conference Tuesday night versus Newport, they needed a spark to get them rolling for the second half of league.
Well, something did happen Tuesday night that got the ball rolling in the right direction.
The aggressiveness that Stayton had Thursday versus North Marion in the second half was there on both sides of the ball.
And 17 minutes into the game, their aggressiveness paid off as Valeria Navarro headed a ball in for the Eagles first goal in 12 halves. Six Games dating back to the second half of the Seaside game nearly a month ago since Stayton scored their last goal.
Navarro described coming out as strong as they did as them looking for a spark amongst themselves.
“We came out to this game like, ‘we got to win, we got to win’ to get our league up, our confidence up,” she said. “Like we have to get up there, we have to get third-place to get into the playoffs/play-in game. So it felt really, really good.”
The girls weren’t just satisfied with one goal as they carried this aggressiveness as Olivia Casarez dialed up a long distance shot that found the opposite side of the goal for a 2-0 lead seven minutes after Navarro’s goal.
Their defense that’s been on cue and building to this momentum held the Cubs offense to not a single score in the opening half.
Playing with the lead hasn’t been in the vocabulary for the young team of the Eagles as of recently, but they played like it was otherwise as they entered the second half.
“I thought we did really good as a team cause last game we had our heads down (and) we had our head up the entire game even when we got scored on,” said Casarez. “I don’t know, overall we had better energy.”
And yeah, the Cubs might’ve got one past them in the second half, but the girls stout defense denied any further damage against them as you could feel excitement amongst the team as the final whistle blew snapping a six-game losing streak in the process.
Head Coach Lael Anderson knows that this game is a pivotal bookmark of the body of work that her team has pieced together this far into the season.
“They came out believing in themselves and carry that through the end,” said Anderson. “And as a coach, I’m proud that they maintain that even after the goal’s scored, so that’s a win for us in emotional development.
“I think anytime a team wins it ends up hopefully building their confidence. I think this is a pivotal game for us because often in the season, the scores haven’t reflected the intensity of play. So for them to have a consistent showing and have the win attach to it, we’re really pleased as coaches.”
With Philomath (5-2-2, 3-0-2 OWC), who’s sitting a half-game back of Cascade (7-0-1, 4-0-1 OWC) in the league standings coming to town Thursday, the mindset has to be the same as Stayton sits a few games back of third place entering the second go-around of league play.
“Go out with the same intensity, the same mindset that, like I said, ‘we got to win’ and we got to win and we got to keep our heads up,” said Navarro.
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald