By Jeremy McDonald
CORVALLIS, Ore.– North Marion was not going to be denied this season in reaching the 4A Championship game in this shortened season. It didn’t come easy as they advanced to the Finals following their 4-2 PK victory over Philomath Thursday afternoon at Crescent Valley High School, but they found a way to get it done.
“I would definitely say it was a tough game however we were prepared. For us seniors we have been working on making it the finals for 4 years. Every year we have advanced further. It was a really good matchup for us and I think that we really battled it out as well as the other team,” Hailey Welch said.
“Like I said before making it to the finals is incredible. The only thing i can remember saying after the game was four years we finally did it. We really put in the work for this game and all of our games and we will continue to put in the work. We want to go far and I truly believe that we can do it.”
Dominique Huapeo got the Huskies on the board first in the eighth only to see the Warriors knot it up in the 18th at one apiece.
As fate would have it, those two strikes by either team from the remainder of the game. Philomath had their chances in the final 20 minutes of the half, and couldn’t crack the Huskie defense. North Marion brought the pressure in the second half, the same. No difference maker in the offensive front as tensions grew, the mental game increased and so did the physical toll of the game.
80 minutes became 100. Still no clear-cut winner. It went to Penalty Kicks.
The Warriors got two across. But North Marion got four. Mya Hammack, the Welch sisters of Hailey and Teagan and Huapeo all got their PK’s to hit the back of the net.
“Those PK’s were extremely intense. We practice pks a lot and some of us have some past experience from my sophomore year against La Grande where we lost, so I think that helped. Our main goal during them was to stay calm and take care of business,” Hammack said.
“I think these last two games really showed that it takes everything and everyone to win. We’ve been preparing for this moment all year and other seniors like myself have had this opportunity for 4 years now and we know what it takes and are going to make it happen.”
Down the road in Eugene, Marist and Hidden Valley played in the other Semi-Final bout Thursday. Oddly enough it too went to Penalty Kicks, but they upped the ante a bit. After the first round of PK’s were tied at three goals apiece, the Spartans would find a way in the second round of PK’s to edge the Mustangs to set up the Finals on Saturday between the two programs.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald