By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– Stayton’s Karlee Tyler was once had play goalie as an eighth-grader before moving out into the field as a midfielder her freshman year, but once Sylvia Gomez graduated following the 2017-2018 season there was a need in goal.
The Eagles bridged their Oregon West Conference-Title campaign with a 11-4-1 season with Tyler as goalie, reaching the 4A State postseason for the third straight year. Their first-round game against eventual State Semifinalist in North Marion, Tyler and her defense settled in during the second half as KJ Nyquist and Maddie Pask helped force overtime.
And though it wasn’t the end result they were looking for, the Huskies Mya Hammack hitting the game-winning goal with seconds remaining, it was still a good game and season for Stayton as they kicked off their first ‘official’ practice Monday evening.
“I thought we adjusted very well. The adjustments were very difficult, but we worked together,” Tyler said of that game. “I picked up goalie (again) to see how it went. It went really well and the team helped out a lot.
“I love my defense; they did great and they really helped my year as a sophomore goalie.”
Tyler was an Honorable Mention goalie with Hallie Couture (Philomath) and Kaeden Fletcher (Newport) who also were honorable selections as Goalie.
With Devin Holmes leaving the program following the season and former-Cascade Head Coach Skip Collins taking over, the Pandemic has allowed the Stayton program more time to adjust to their new coach. Having scrimmaged and trained with their new coach since June with their season kicking off March 4 at Newport, adjusting as best as they can despite the situation handed to the squad this season.
“We’re all taken it in strides…I feel like we’ve worked with it pretty good. Obviously, we need to practice it more since we haven’t gotten it set in stone,” Tyler said. “I love Skip, I think he’s an amazing coach and I feel like that’s been the main difference. Changing up our lineup, changing up how we play will be difficult but everyone brings something to the table.”
And as they wrapped up early practice conditioning and went into ball drills, one big thing Tyler admits she needs to work on is her communication skills with her teammates.
“Just be a little more talkative, help them out as much as they help me out. Getting better with myself so I can be a better player for them,” said Tyler.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald