By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.—With practice moved to 7am to 9am leading up to their jamboree later this week in trying to avoid the heat coming this upcoming week, the Cascade Girls Soccer were wrapping up their early morning practice Monday with some live half-field drilling shooting and finishing opportunities.
After taking the Lady Cougars to a State Championship appearance in the 2014-2015 season and leading them to a 42-11-8 record in four-years Skip Collins stepped down from the Head of program, guiding the way for Halee Pyatt to take over the program. Pyatt, a North Marion-graduate and played collegiately for George Fox University before joining Collins’ staff two-years ago where she was the JV Head Coach last season.
“He just really helped me kind of understand all of it and I was very fortunate my first year…I just did the Varsity assistant. So I got to see, I got to observe that first-year because it was my first time coaching soccer,” said Pyatt of Collins. “He really helped me, he let me run some practices just to try to get my feet under me and see how it all works out.”
Pyatt admits that it was a shock a little bit as she enters her first season at the helm of the program with the jamboree Thursday and their first game of the season September 6 on the road against Sisters.
Cascade’s first three-games are on the road as they go to North Bend (Sept. 8) and Philomath (Sept, 11) before hosting Newport on September 13 for their home opener.
“It’s just a lot more responsibility that I didn’t see as assistant. So just kind of behind-the-scenes, making sure that I know the departure times and picking the teams,” said Pyatt of moving up the chain of command. “But we’re out of that, got the teams made up. Now it’s just getting the chemistry going, maybe the nerves will start when the games will start but right now it’s smooth sailing for a bit.”
There’s some big shoes to fill however entering this season with girls like Faith Craig, Maliah Russell, Kelsey Molan, Halle Wright, Riley Bangert, Emma Woods and Brooke Petterson graduating from their 2017 squad.
But Pyatt spoke highly of the 14-player freshman class that came in with their summer scrimmage with Ariel Tobassion helping out in the backline. Joining Tobassion is senior Alishae Grizzell, who spoke about how tough it’s going to be to fill the shoes left by Molan and Wright.
“It’s pretty crucial and I’m trying to fill in that spot as well as I can but also helping the other girls fill in that spot as well so it’s just not me because they helped me learn a lot,” said Grizzell. “So I’m trying to do the same thing they did for me. Encourage and just correct their errors so that during the season it’s easier.”
The 2018 Cougars will get their first live action as a Varsity unit this Thursday to kickoff the season.