By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– Cascade found themselves facing a lot of adversity Wednesday night traveling the short distance to Stayton to take on their rival for possibly the last time in Girls Soccer.
But, with them missing several players, the Lady Cougars jumped out to a 1-nil lead quickly on Slivia Gomez and the Eagles, answering the bell of the adversity bringing up several Junior Varsity players to the Varsity level.
Freshman Maddy Pask tied the game up at 1 as sophomore KJ Nyquist gave Stayton a 2-1 lead entering halftime as the young Eagles team, sitting 23rd in the State looking for a playoff opportunity were on the momentum train entering the second half.
Then, tenth-ranked Cascade’s own freshman in forward Alexia Privratsky ties it in the beginning part of the second half as the frosh continued to showcase her talent without Emma Woods on the other side of the field.
“She just demonstrated why she’s part of the Varsity squad,” said goalkeeper Faith Craig on Privratsky. “I mean we have some really good JV players come up from JV today and they just do their job and they do it well.”
The youngsters making the move from JV to Varsity went through their bumps and bruises against a Eagle squad who has showed a lot of promise with some aggression; but made some crucial plays to keep Stayton from tearing the game open and giving themselves an opportunity to play for the win Wednesday night.
But, as Stayton drove down towards Craig for a chance to break the 2-all tie, a penalty inside the box allowed Pask to get a PK-opportunity for the lead. A lot of pressure for a freshman in a tight-knit match as it was tied at two.
As the game stood still with the Cougars arguing the call in the cold October-night, the freshman stayed focus and drained what was soon-to-be the game-winner.
“Well at first I wasn’t really nervous, but then the refs kind of took a long-time and then the nervousness just kind of started to build up,” describe Pask on the intensity of the moment. “But then when he blew the whistle, I was like calm and I just passed it to the right-side of the goal.”
But Cascade won’t make the win easy, as it came down Privratsky and the front-line versus Gomez, Alyssa Smart and company to prevent having to go-back down and regain the lead once more.
“They’re really, really quick girls so we have to communicate and make sure we get goal-side every time,” said Smart. “It can be difficult but I think we did really well with that tonight.”
Smart and the line held tough, the lone clean shot came from Privratsky driving from the right, only to be stopped by Gomez with about three minutes left in the ball-game.
Gomez once more made a crucial save with roughly 25 seconds left in the ball-game of a sailing shot from about 20-yard out that sealed the 3-2 win.
With Stayton cheering their first win over their rival in a few years, moved the Eagles up to number 21 in the State of Oregon and with Top 24 get to move on past October 24; Stayton’s in favorable position to advance to at least a play-in game for the first-time since 2015 as long as they take care of business with three games to go.
And the momentum of beating Cascade, who now sits at 13th, could spark something great for the Lady Eagles with them hosting Yamhill-Carlton Tuesday at 5pm.
“I think just beating our rivals just boosted our confidence and I think next game, we’ll definitely build on this confidence and just play hard,” said Pask.
“Just keep up our confidence and just keep pushing through with it and know that we can,” said Smart. “We just need ot get pumped up for games and tonight we did a good job of that
The Cougars, admist a three-game losing streak after starting the season 4-0-2, are seeing a lot of the younger athletes stepping up and filling in the shoes of those who are not playing as they move ahead to Newport at home Tuesday afternoon at 4pm.
“We got some really good young athletes, I’m really proud of our freshman,” said Craig. “They have come out and proved that they deserve their spot. Their amazing, I think they’re definitely picking up how the older girls work and how we all play together.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald