Hammack hat trick leads North Marion over Woodburn
After Mya Hammack's hat trick 41 minutes into North Marion's quarterfinal match against the Woodburn girls soccer team, the Huskies appeared well on their way to the semifinals of the 4A Elite 8 Showcase tournament.
But the defending champions would not go down so easily.
With their backs against the wall, the Bulldogs rallied for two second half scores to push host North Marion to the brink before time ultimately ran out in a 3-2 win for the Huskies Tuesday, April 6.
"I thought we looked tired in the first half, and that's something we've been fighting with all year — coming out with intensity in the beginning," Woodburn head coach Andrea Whiteman said. "We do a really good job of being relentless and never giving up. But then that leads to us running out of time."
The game was a rematch of the 2019 semifinals that Woodburn won en route to the state title. After three unsuccessful state championship runs of their own, the senior class of North Marion is eager to take advantage of their final opportunity to deliver the program's first state title in school history.
"I was extremely hyped for this game. Last year we didn't get the result that we wanted, and I know everybody on this team was really upset about it," Hammack said. "We knew we weren't going to lose. We had our minds set to it."
While the showcase isn't an official state championship tournament, most players are treating it as such, particularly at North Marion where the Huskies have been rebuffed in their title attempts since the class of 2021 helped turn the struggling program into a contender four years ago.
"Starting the beginning of the season, we went in with the mentality that every game is a championship game," North Marion junior goalkeeper Mallory Patzer said. "So when we came here, we were still with that mentality and training the same every session, and it paid off in the end."
"(The job's) not finished, but we're excited to get a second chance at (Woodburn), and be able to come out on the other side this time," North Marion head coach Ben Bonser said. "We're just happy to be playing and that's part of the philosophy this year. Every game could be our last game. Every game is our championship game. Have fun, go out there and take care of business."
The Huskies pressured immediately from the opening whistle, keeping the ball in Woodburn territory for much of the first half. Five minutes into the contest, Hammack found herself at the top left corner of the penalty box, passing up a shot attempt to find a teammate for a better look at the goal. The Bulldogs defended the pass successfully, prompting Hammack to take a more aggressive role in the offense for the remainder of the half.
"After that, I was like, 'let's go, we need to get this,'" Hammack said. "I think me being a little more aggressive helped bring up the whole team and everyone's energy came together and helped us succeed."
The North Marion senior moved the ball into scoring position four minutes later on a pass from fellow senior Danielle Christenson and converted this time, drilling the ball past Woodburn keeper Litzy Gonzalez from 10 yards out to give the Huskies the 1-0 lead.
North Marion continued to pressure, resulting in a shot from senior Hailey Welch set up by Hammack that ricocheted off the upper left crossbar three minutes later. Hammack ultimately converted North Marion's second goal at the 20-minute mark, after she attacked from the goal line, snaking past a pair of Woodburn defenders to drive the ball past Gonzalez at an extreme angle and make it a 2-0 game.
Hammack added her third goal one minute into the second half, following up a rebound on a save by Gonzalez, marking the first time this season Woodburn has given up three goals. That's when the Bulldogs began playing their best soccer of the day.
"We played a pretty short rotation, so we were starting to look a little winded that second half," Bonser said. "They know they've got nothing to lose at this point — or everything to lose, depending on how you put it."
Woodburn notched its first goal 59 minutes into the contest when senior Yahaira Rodriguez moved the ball through midfield, finding freshman Elizabeth Valdez Vasquez on the right side of the North Marion penalty box. Valdez Vasquez lofted a 25-yard shot over the outstretched arms of Patzer to cut the deficit to 3-1.
Ten minutes later, sophomore defender Alyssa Rios intercepted a pass in Woodburn territory, moved the ball to the other side of the field and bounced it to sophomore Cassidy Garibaldo, who quickly found junior Myranda Marquez for a lofting shot into the back right corner of the North Marion net.
"I think probably the most heartbreaking part of it is knowing we can beat this team," Whiteman said. "It's one thing when you play someone and feel like for sure they were the better team. But to know that if we would have stepped it up first half little more and had some things go our way a little more that we could have made it happen."
"They've got some fantastic players that we know," Bonser said. "These girls all play together on the club teams. Everybody knows each other, knows each others' skills. You can't take anything away from them. They've got some fantastic players and they took some great shots in that second half, those long, dangerous shots."
But the Huskies ultimately would hold on for the final minutes and advance to the semifinals. North Marion (9-1) will travel south to face Philomath (9-1) at Crescent Valley High School. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.
The winner will advance to the Showcase final Saturday against either top-seeded Marist (8-2) or fourth-seeded Hidden Valley (9-1).
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.