Salem, Ore.– The Chemeketa Women’s Soccer team have finally snapped their playoff drought as the program will be heading to the postseason for the first time in eight years as they head to Spokane on Wednesday to open up the NWAC Playoffs.Second-year Head Coach Steve Elmore credits his team and their effort and desire in making it a competitive season that saw them right up there in the NWAC South Region Title race with Portland Community College and Southwestern Oregon Community College.
“It has been an incredible year in which all the credit goes to our players for their efforts and desire to create a competitive season. They have definitely had numerous highlights to be proud of to include going to the playoffs after an 8-year absence. Going tied for last place a year ago to making the playoffs, having 10x less goals against than last year (49 last year 5 this year), 6 shutouts by our GK’s, scoring twice as many goals as last year. The team chemistry has been fun to watch and this team truly started our cultural change for Storm soccer. The coaches are very proud to see the academic and athletic successes this year and the foundation being built for future women’s soccer players,” Elmore said prior to their game with Spokane.
” I think it all started with getting “buy in” from our players in what we wanted to accomplish this year, but more importantly they wanted to be part of the change in creating a winning season. When the team started seeing the successes, their focus shifted to going deep into the playoffs as a main objective. Much of this year’s success has been within our cultural change in creating a more spirited and competitive environment. Recruitment has played a very important role giving us the opportunity to bring in skilled players who want to use soccer as a college pathway.”
Woodburn’s Myranda Marquez leads the Storm with eight goals and seven assists and McNary’s Alyssa Albright-Santana is right behind her with seven goals on the season. Rin Choi, from South Korea, has four assists. Hood River Valley-grad Alyssa Martinez has been a steady hand in goal for the Storm, in six games Martinez is 3-0 (seventh-best in the NWAC) and enters the postseason ranked fourth in save percentage (.914), third in goals against (three) and with three shutouts in 450 minutes in goal.
And though they faltered in their regular seaosn goal of winning league, they’re taking their late season bumps as learning lessons as they now focus on their next goal in making a deep postseason run.
“At this point, it is all about getting the players mentally prepared to take the playoffs one game at a time. All season we remained strong contenders for the NWAC South Region Title until the last two season games. Unfortunately, we got mentally ahead of ourselves and took a tough loss to PCC knocking us out of Title contention. Using that as a learning lesson, we have definitely taken a different outlook on how we can find success going forward into the playoffs,” Elmore said.
A win on Wednesday will send the Storm to face reigning NWAC Champions in Pennisula on Saturday at 4pm.