By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– The last time Cascade girls soccer lost was November 5, 2016 versus Gladstone in the first-round of the playoffs. The last-time they lost in the regular season, you’d have to go all the way back to September 3, 2015. A 4-nil loss to Crescent Valley to start the season.
Losing is as rare for the Lady Cougars, having lost just six-times before Tuesday’s game versus North Marion since Skip Collins arrived in 2014, and the name Mar Verastegui is responsible for number seven.
Leading up to the juniors last minute goal to stun the Cougars, defenses on both sides interrupted the offensive push from the other team.
Emma Woods and Alexia Privratsky for Cascade, Verastegui and Mya Hammack for the Lady Huskies were met by aggressive defenders and goalies looking to keep the score tied at one until their offense could break-it-down enough to get a good shot-on-goal.
“It was a little discouraging getting stopped by their defense, they have a good back-line but so do we,” said Woods on the North Marion defense. “So we just had to use our speed and use our players up front. We need to pass some more, look up and know where our players are at. We definitely need to communicate more and when we did communicate, we had some good runs and some good stuff going. So we just need to remember that for next time that we play them.”
“They were playing a defense we haven’t seen before (in the) man-mark, and so it was always hard having a player on you,” added Verastegui on the Cougar defense. “Like you always had a player on you, girls not knowing where to pass. But we were able to give each other good angles to pass too and get those open shots.”
Cascade’s goal came in the second minute off a Jenica Wiebenga corner-kick turned own-goal before Hammack tied the ball-game up in the 21st minute before both defenses adjusted accordingly in shutting down the other’s offensive attack.
As time was getting short Verastegui, who was just getting back into a groove after going out for a few minutes due to injury after colliding into the Lady Cougars Faith Craig inside the goalie box, found a good angle to pursue on a shot and connected for the what would be the game-winner Tuesday afternoon at home.
“It felt really great,” said Verastegui on the goal. “You know I was thinking we’re probably going to end up with a tie at the end of the game because the minutes were running low, but our team never gives up and we trust each other, we keep the ball up, we keep pushing and it finally went in. The hard work paid off.”
For Cascade, who went 0-1-1 after starting the season 4-0-1, the team’s is looking for that spark-plug again to get them rolling once more as the Junction City game did to start the season.
Perhaps maybe, this loss, as rare as it might be for the program, might serve more good than bad as they start the second half of league Thursday at Stayton.
“I think we just need to let this fuel our fire, I think it was a humbling game,” “I think sometimes we need to get reminded of that we need to come out strong every game and treat every game as tough competition.
“Mentally, I think it’s going to help us in second-half of league to prepare us to have that mindset to be hungry every, single game no matter who we’re playing.”
With North Marion starting league a perfect 5-0, unthinkable considering that’s more than the last two OWC-seasons combined for a Huskies team that’s hungry to make a postseason run in 2017 with them hosting Newport Thursday at 4pm.
“First of all it feels great you know, knowing that the younger girls are putting in the work and their confident and coming out,” smiles Verastegui. “It really helps our team come out and…we really want this, we want to make a really good run and get into the Championship and the young girls are eager and so is the rest of our team.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald