By Jeremy McDonald
WOODBURN, Ore.– The fog picked up and swirled during the second half and into the two overtime periods Tuesday night as North Marion’s Mya Hammack lined up for her penalty kick against Stayton.
She just wiped the blood from her face following a hard foul she took in the Huskies 3-2 overtime win over the Eagles to survive and advance in the 4A playoffs.
The stands feel silent. Ten seconds remain before penalty kicks, this was possibly the last chance either team had to score before that point.
“We all realized in those overtime periods, this was our game and we just needed to take it back,” said Hammack. “With that PK I was like, ‘I have to make this. I have to do this for my team’. We had to put it all together and finish strong.”
Stayton had came roaring back to this point of the game. Down 2-0 entering the second half Maddie Pask and KJ Nyquist struck to force overtime.
For a team that had graduated as many seniors as they did the year before, to force overtime and seeing their sophomore goalkeeper in Karlee Tyler make seven stops in 100 minutes of work Tuesday was something hard to think about coming out of their 1-0 loss to Valley Catholic last year in the quarterfinals, but here they were knocking on that door again in 2019.
“We had some kids step up a lot this year and made some major contributions. Every single player made a contribution on this team, so I couldn’t be prouder and I’m excited to come back and watch them next year,” said Nyquist.
Nyquist’s younger sister Tori, Kenzi Pugh and Juleita Arroela slowed Hammack, Carter Crawford and North Marion’s aggressive offensive scheme over the final sixty minutes of the game, supporting Tyler. Hailey Welch (fifth minute) and Crawford (35th minute) struck in the first half to help build the 2-0 Huskie lead and almost regained the lead at the end of the first ten-minute overtime period when a corner kick-to-header was waved off.
The Hammack header bounced on the top crossbar, but the fog created enough of a discrepancy to keep the game tied at two if it went in or not. As tough as that was, North Marion had to stay together with the Eagles swarming.
“We just really had to come together and play as a team because we know we can make it far, we just have to come together, relax, hit our shots…connect our passes,” said Hammack. “It was all about coming together and finishing what we started.”
Stayton had their chances, as did the Huskies, in trying to break the two-all tie entering the final minute.
“Our mentality going into the game was to play until the very last whistle. We didn’t care what the score was, we wanted it more,” said KJ Nyquist. “I’m proud of us. It was a sucky way to lose, but everyone contributed and everyone worked their butt off so I can’t be prouder of our team.”
The gamechanger came when Hammack came storming into the box, and as hard as it was to send the North Marion Junior to the line, it was probably best instead of leaving a one-on-one shot with seconds left.
Hammack connected for the 3-2 lead that left both teams and their crowds stunned of the result. The Huskies will be going on the road Saturday against Hidden Valley, who came to life in the final 25 minutes of the game against Banks, as they look to get redemption on the Mustangs from their playoff loss from two-years ago to Hidden Valley.
“We need to work hard in practice, relax and we just need to keep working hard and realize that the next game will be as hard as this one. We just need to work together and perfect the little mistakes and hopefully win the game,” said Hammack.