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Christenson sets up teammates, Hammack nets a hat trick in season debut at home

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - North Marion junior Mya Hammack scored three goals and assisted on a fourth in the Huskies 7-0 victory over the Bulldogs on Thursday.It was the tale of two teams — and two halves — in last week's season opener between the North Marion and Woodburn girls soccer teams.

On one side was a veteran Husky squad, playing the first game of what they hope will be a long season as they make a run at a deep playoff push. On the other side was a young Bulldog team, laden with freshmen, similar to where this North Marion program was two years ago.

And while the Woodburn girls were able to withstand an early goal to keep the game at 1-0 through the first 40 minutes, the Huskies were able to push through in the second half of the Sept. 5 game.

Taking advantage of an injury-plagued Bulldog team, the Huskies scored six more goals to run away with the 7-0 victory.

"The first half we were all a little nervous, but we were all very excited," North Marion junior Mya Hammack said. "At halftime, we said we just need to possess the ball better, play our game as a team. We came out really motivated, really hyped up and we just kept the ball better, played those through balls, and finished our opportunities."

Hammack finished the game with three goals and an assist, putting the Huskies on the board in the opening 90 seconds of the game on a cross from junior teammate Danielle Christenson.

"Carter (Crawford) kind of tipped it, and then I hit it in again to guarantee it went in," Hammack said.

Christenson was credited with the assist, then went on to assist on two more scores and net one of her own in the second half against the Bulldogs.

It was a tough outing for Woodburn, who played North Marion evenly at their home jamboree just a week earlier. The Bulldogs saw limited minutes from junior starter Alyssa Padilla as she recovers from a leg injury during the preseason.

"She played a little bit the first half, but we don't want to injure her for league games," Woodburn head coach Andrea Whiteman said.

The Bulldogs were also without freshman starter Luz Rojas and junior centerback Lily Duran. The team's depth was tested further at the 10-minute mark when freshman defender Alyssa Rios went down and was carried off the field.

"She's got a pretty bad ankle injury, and it looks like she'll be out for a bit," Whiteman said. "I would definitely attribute today's game to injury."

The absence of four projected starters forced Whiteman to play some starters out of position and lean on other players for more minutes. But despite the result, Whiteman came away with a positive outlook to pass on to her team.

"What I told them, this is what these games are for," she said. "Figure out where our gaps are at."

The dam eventually broke in the second half when the Huskies came out after the break with renewed energy to press Woodburn's defense. Christenson doubled North Marion's lead three minutes into the half with an unassisted goal from outside the left side of the box that went over freshman keeper Litzy Gonzalez.

Hammack added another less than two minutes later on an assist from sophomore Dominique Huapeo. Crawford made it 4-0 with a goal of her own 90 seconds later, off a misplayed ball from Gonzalez.

"Obviously it's a goalie's worst nightmare," Whiteman said, but made sure her keeper knew the Woodburn coaching staff was behind her. "I just told her, 'You know what? Now it's out of the way.'"

Whiteman told Gonzalez it's all part of the high-pressure job of being the last line of defense, and to not dwell too much on errors.

"What I always tell them is that goalies don't get to make mistakes, because when they make mistakes, we get scored on. Whereas everybody else makes mistakes all the time on the field and nothing happens."

Midway through the second half, it was Christenson again setting up freshman teammate Saylor Swanson, who scored her first career high school goal to put the Huskies up 5-0.

"I listened to my dad on the bench telling me to make the run and I did," Swanson said. "Dani crossed it perfectly, and I got my knee on it, and it went right in the corner."

Hammack poked in her final goal three minutes later to finish with the hat trick, and sophomore Jo Carbajal concluded the game with a goal in the 69th minute off an assist from Hammack.

"Scoring is always nice, but I love giving teammates that opportunity to score and seeing their faces," Hammack said. "As long as we win, I'm happy."

No. 5 North Marion (1-0) was scheduled to travel to Junction City (0-2) on Tuesday and return home on Thursday to end the week against Valley Catholic (0-1).

Woodburn (0-1) was scheduled to travel to Sweet Home (0-0-1) for their league opener on Tuesday and will conclude the week on Thursday against Hillsboro (0-1).

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