By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Silverton-grad and Linfield University soccer player Emily Hyde had found herself on the backline in the CFC Athletica Open Cup Semi-Finals game against the Eugene FC Azul. Filling in due to injury as Athletica looked to continue their dominance defensively in search for the Championship title Wednesday night at John Chambers Field in Salem.
“The girls around me have done a really good job welcoming me in and helping me with mistakes and making sure that I can have an environment where I feel comfortable to grow and that has paid off,” Hyde said, going from defensive mid to center back. “I think as a whole all of us work really well together, we communicate. If one of us makes a mistake, we know that someone has your back.
“So it’s a really great environment to be a part of.”
Athletica jumped out to a 1-0 lead after a 23rd minute goal by Clara Mattison (Willamette University) and the CFC Athletica squad held strong defensively going into the second half of the Semi-Final game. But Eugene would eventually get one in net, drawing even with Athletica.
The squad features a solid core of local talent like Hyde, Sarah Rice (West Salem, Arizona), Aspen DeConcini (Sprague, Southern Oregon University) and Fatima Jimenez (West Salem, Corban University) that are bringing in different aspects of their college and local teams back to CFC. The squad has been playing together this season since the Spring in preparation for their respective Fall seasons here in the coming weeks as they responded down the stretch.
“This has been one of the best Summers that this team has had. Everyone has come together really well, everyone is from different places so we’re learning to play with each other. We’re making that adjustment really quick and it’s been awesome for everybody, we’ve been doing a really good job,” Rice said.
South Salem’s Natalie Boragine had a nice 35-foot goal in the 77th minute that gave CFC Athletica a nice 3-1 cushion coming into the twilight of the match. The score remained the same at the final whistle, sending the Salem-based squad to the Open Cup Championship Game Saturday at 11am at Sparks Field at Willamette University with Athletica looking to finish the job and bring back a Championship.
“The job is not finished. So everyone’s going to rest up, get some good sleep and nutrition, etc. and take this momentum into the next game and keep pushing forward,” Rice said. “We can improve on connecting more in the middle and staying calm and composed the entire game and having a full 90-minute.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald