By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– It’s not too often that you get into the situation that the Willamette Valley, the State of Oregon actually, has been in with the recent days because of the smokey air around the State.
For teams like Cascade, who like several countless teams in the State, had to go without practice in the lead-up to their lone preseason game Thursday at home against Junction City.
“It was frustrating, we haven’t had a practice all season together as a team, so that was definitely a challenge too,” said Faith Craig. “I just think we needed that extra practice that we didn’t get.”
The smoke had canceled their game Wednesday against Hidden Valley, too scheduled to be at home that would’ve gave them an extra look or two entering league next week, but the girls went to battle and took a 1-nil lead off a Diana Colin-Martinez goal in the first half of the first half.
The Lady Cougars had their chances to increase their lead further beyond 1-0 on a few nice offensive drives throughout the game against the physicality of the Tigers, the dust bowl and the rain that blew through during the game, but Cascade couldn’t land that dagger insurance goal as padding late into the game.
Eventually, Junction City’s persistence prevailed and they knotted it up at one with about seven minutes remaining in the game and the Cougs couldn’t respond before the final whistle to end the game in a one-all draw.
The draw itself, it’s just the sixth-tie in the last 48 games for Cascade who have went 36-6-6 in that span, is a eye-opener of sorts with pretty much the same parts coming back from last season and though they tied, mixed in an injury during the match, it showed how much work they need to put in between now and Tuesday’s match against Yamhill-Carlton with the low numbers that they have as a team.
“I think it was a big eye opener showing us how low our numbers are actually,” starts Kelsey Molan. “When Leah got hurt and we got one more sub and we haven’t practiced because of the smoke, so we’re all out of shape and we could only use a sub.
“I think, after our practice tomorrow when we’re conditioning, we’ll be ready for Tuesday because we’ll feel better about our conditioning.”
Head Coach Skip Collins, who gives credit to Junction City on coming out swinging Thursday afternoon for battling themselves and was trying to fire up his girls from the sidelines throughout the game, said that the ball is in his girls court as they look to continue to grow as a team with the season finally underway for them.
“I hope this game, it being our first game, will fire them up for league. I mean we only had one preseason game, now we start our league games, so it’s a little bit of a rough schedule, a rough time,” said Collins. “And like I said, I hope it fire up the ladies. You know, I can’t fire them up all the times on the sidelines, everyone can hear me but if they can’t be excited for themselves then it’s going to be a long season.”
And with the ball in their court, with them going home for the night and their coaches words following the game still in their minds, the taste in their mouths of how this first game went will bring out the character of this team come Tuesday afternoon for their 4pm kickoff versus the Lady Tigers of YC.
“We’re definitely going to learn from this,” said Craig. “It’s not a loss, it’s not a win. We’re definitely going to learn from it and come out hard and definitely come out with more spunk.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald