By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– The Logan Classen-Ben Rash connection might be dangerous on the football gridiron, but the KJ Nyquist and Maddie Pask could easily rival that.
It was damn near deadly to say the least in their 7-0 win over McLoughlin Saturday afternoon.
And yes, it was the first game of the season and there’s still games to be played, but as the dynamic duo showed in the ninth minute as Nyquist was being hit on a set-up to Pask and again right before halftime on a Nyquist free kick on the set-up to Pask’s second goal of the game, teams won’t be able to sleep on the Nyquist-Pask one-two punch.
“It’s really great to have her back. We really missed her last year, but we’re definitely trying to make her mark this year and work together with the rest of the team and keep her out at practice and win some games,” said Nyquist, who had two goals and two assist in the win on Pask.
Pask, who’s coming off an ACL injury that sidelined the Junior last season, finished with two goals in her first regular season game back off of the injury after building the strong connection with Nyquist and the team over the Summer Soccer season.
“It’s really nice, I’m really excited to be back. It was rough in the beginning, but after practicing and getting back into the groove it’s really nice with KJ,” starts Pask. “I have a strong connection with her and all the practices and stuff help build it.”
Communication was strong for the Eagles as they built a quick 2-0 lead within the first 16 minutes as Stayton pressured McLoughlin. Finding options with Savannah Baker and Rian Hill in the opening half to complement Nyquist and Pask as they led 3-0 entering the second half.
Those options and communication are going to be important for their next game in Gladstone Tuesday at home while cleaning up their passes, passes that were difficult with the Pios loading up the defensive side of the field.
“We just got to be able to communicate really well and be able to pass to feet because that’s what is going to help us out and being able to play to the outside,” said Hill. “Just making sure we always got a job, that’s very important when we’re all crowded up in the box. Being able to have a drop-in and kind of reset, that’s the big thing that we need to be looking for.”
Hill, a sophomore, scored in the second half as the youth that’s coming up to replace the nine seniors from the Eagles 11-2-2 season in 2018 and their first-ever League Title, pitched their first shutout of the season entering their tough challenge on Tuesday with the Gladiators.