By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– As Klamath Union’s Cassidy Mahan lined up for her penalty kick in the 62nd minute with the Pelicans down 2-1 to host Stayton, anything was possible.
The Eagles were looking for their third-straight trip to the Field of 16, their fourth in five years, but their defense that had been clutch outside of a goal minutes before came down to their sophomore goalkeeper Karlee Tyler.
“I was obviously nervous. I chose a spot and went for it,” said Tyler.
That spot, her right and Mahan’s left, was the right spot with Tyler making the stop and pushing the ball out to the pitch with 18 minutes left in the game.
Her defense recovered for her as she popped back up in the box. The Stayton defense was eerie similar to that of what Eagles Boys Head Coach Chris Shields did a few weeks ago against Woodburn at times.
Similar in that they dropped everyone but one into the defensive half with an overhanging offensive player on top looking for that counterattack and push up field once they got that look and through ball to try to execute.
“We’ve played a strong first and second half, it was a competitive game. We weren’t expecting them to have really fast forwards but the defense did a really good job with communicating with each other, looking up for passes and working well as a team,” said Julieta Arreola.
With Mya Hammack and North Marion to open up the Field of 16 in a battle of former Oregon West Conference opponents, they’ll need that strong defense to neutralize Hammack to give them a chance to reach the second round of the playoffs again in 2019.
“Just staying strong,” starts Arreola. “Every practice give it your all, every game give it your all. It’s really important to never give up. We always play until the last whistle and by heart, work as a team. Never work as an individual.”
“I think staying focus, working hard in practice,” adds Maddie Pask. “Working on our weak points like communicating, pass balls and through balls, I think that’ll carry us on and we’ll do well in the next round.”
Stayton added an insurance goal in the 67th minute from Pask ice the 3-1 victory Saturday afternoon to punch the Eagles ticket back to the bracket for the third-straight year. Tuesday’s game will be at 6pm at Woodburn High School against the Huskies.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald