Elizabeth Morales, Kaili Saathoff
Elizabeth Morales, left, and Kaili Saathoff celebrate Philomath’s goal in the first half of Thursday’s showcase semifinal against North Marion. Morales made the goal in the 21st minute. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

CORVALLIS — North Marion and Philomath could not separate from one another through 100 minutes of play — that’s two halves of regulation soccer and two overtimes.


To determine the winner, the Huskies and Warriors had to go to penalty kicks. North Marion had the upper hand by making all four of its shots while Philomath missed two of its four attempts. With the win, the Huskies (10-1) advance to this weekend’s Elite Eight Girls Soccer Showcase championship game while the Warriors end at 9-2.

“You play against opponents that are worthy and we were evenly matched but in the end, they were able to make those PKs,” said Atira Fairbanks, a PHS senior who played in her final game. “That’s just what it comes down to, that’s soccer.”

Meeting on Crescent Valley’s field, the two teams had played to a 1-1 tie in regulation and then neither school could find the net in a pair of 10-minute overtimes. In the PK shooting competition, Philomath went first and Alivia Pittman’s attempt hit the crossbar. North Marion’s Mya Hammack followed and buried a shot in the right corner of the net.

Philomath’s Mia Rust scored to the left past a diving goalkeeper, Fairbanks missed wide right and Kaili Saathoff found the upper right corner. North Marion’s Hailey Welch and Dominique Huapeo both made their shots in the lower right corner, the same spot that Hammack had hit. The game-clinching PK came on a shot by Carter Crawford, who kicked the ball into the upper left corner.

“It doesn’t represent the effort and the hard work that the girls put in,” Phelps said about losing a hard-fought game on PKs. “But that’s that’s what it was and we just didn’t get our breaks in the shootout, we missed a couple.”

Hailie Couture
Philomath goalkeeper Hailie Couture makes a save against the Huskies. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Phelps told his team that he was impressed with the hard work that they put in through 100 minutes on the field.

“We faced a lot of obstacles this year, a lot of challenges, but the hard work that they showed today, the attitude and the effort that they showed today made it worth it,” Phelps said. “They set themselves up to be successful in the things they do because they work hard.”

North Marion came into the showcase, which served as a culminating week version of a state tournament, as the highest-scoring team in Class 4A. The Huskies finished their regular season averaging six goals per game, scoring seven or more in six of nine contests. The Huskies opened the showcase on Tuesday with a 3-2 win over Woodburn, the 2019 state champion.

Philomath, meanwhile, had one of the top defenses in the state with six shutouts and allowing more than one goal on just one occasion. In the showcase’s quarterfinals, Philomath advanced with a 2-1 victory over Gladstone, a team that had split with North Marion during the regular season.

For the second straight game in the playoffs, Philomath fell behind in the early going. North Marion found the net in the ninth minute on a shot by Huapeo, who received the ball out of the right corner from Hammack.

The Huskies nearly scored a goal two minutes earlier when a shot bounced off the hands of Philomath goalkeeper Hailie Couture and hit the crossbar. The ball bounced back out and Couture was able to secure it for the save.

Alivia Pittman
Alivia Pittman finished as the team’s top scorer this season. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

In the 21st minute, Philomath got on the scoreboard on an Elizabeth Morales goal. On the play, Saathoff kicked high and forward in the direction of Morales, who was able to control the bouncing ball and send it into the net.

Morales had another chance at the net in traffic a couple of minutes later on a ball sent into the middle by senior Braedyn McNeely but the shot went wide left. Saathoff missed on a chance in the 28th minute after receiving the ball from McNeely.

North Marion put together an offensive in the final few minutes but one chance ended with a bad-angled shot at the net and another was thwarted by Couture coming out to beat the forward.

In the second half, neither team could do much through the first 25 minutes but then North Marion started to get into a groove with a string of scoring opportunities. Welch had a shot in the 67th minute from the middle that Couture was able to stop. A minute later, Hammack was in a good position for a shot only to see Rust going to the ground to make a stop in front of the keeper.

Saylor Swanson nearly got one in from 30 yards in the 69th minute but Couture was in position to deflect it away from the net. A minute later, Danielle Christenson tried one from 35 yards and Couture had to jump high for the save.

In the 72nd minute, there was an anxious moment when Couture ventured toward the front of the box to stop a threat by Huapeo. The two players collided and Couture secured the ball. For a moment, it appeared that a penalty had been called as the official blew his whistle. But there was no call and Philomath had survived the situation.

North Marion progressed deep in the box in the 78th minute but Rust was able to clear out of bounds. Philomath had a few chances in the final two minutes and was setting up for a corner kick when regulation ended.

In the first overtime, Couture continued her exceptional play with two saves in the first five minutes. With about 20 seconds left, Philomath had a controlled assault developing with Chloe Jurva to Pittman to Saathoff to Fairbanks to McNeely but the Huskies were able to hang on.

Team huddle
The team gets revved up prior to Thursday’s 4A showcase semifinal. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

The second overtime opened with Fairbanks taking a pass from Pittman and shooting from the middle at 20 yards out but the attempt went high. In the 94th minute, Reese Grube sent a nice ball deep to set up Saathoff but the play didn’t finish

Both teams had a few opportunities over the rest of the second OT with no results.

Fairbanks was one of eight seniors on the roster this shortened season, the others being Lily Schell, Saathoff, McNeely, Phaedra Hinds-Cook, Jurva, Pittman and Rust.

“We only had six weeks but we won league, we fulfilled that one thing,” Fairbanks said. “We definitely wanted to win state, but you can’t win them all, I guess. Next year, I hope the girls will come out and play a full season.”

Phelps, who finishes his fifth season as PHS head coach, said he’s enjoyed the journey.

“We had eight seniors this year and I’ve been with them the whole time … you want the best for them in what they experience and it’s been a goal to be a state champion and obviously coming up short is hard,” he said. “But to have the experience with each other, that’s more important than any accolades that we can get.”

North Marion 1, Philomath 1
(North Marion won 4-2 on PKs)
Thursday, April 8, at Crescent Valley HS, Corvallis
North Marion (10-1)101
Philomath (9-2)101
(North Marion won 4-2 on penalty kicks)
First Half: 1, North Marion, Dominique Huapeo (Mya Hammack), 9th minute; 2, Philomath, Elizabeth Morales (Alivia Pittman), 21st minute.
Second Half: None.
First Overtime: None.
Second Overtime: None.
Penalty Kicks: Philomath 2 (Alivia Pittman NG, Mia Rust G, Atira Fairbanks NG, Kaili Saathoff G), North Marion 4 (Mya Hammack G, Hailey Welch G, Dominique Huapeo G, Carter Crawford G).

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