Philomath High girls’ soccer holds onto its lead in the 4A-4 Oregon West Conference following its 3-1 win against Cascade High on Tuesday Oct. 14, 2014.
TURNER – There are steps to be taken in building a program.
The Cascade High School girls soccer team made another one Tuesday.
When senior forward Kayla Loukojarvi rebounded a misplayed ball for a 1-0 lead against Philomath 23 minutes into the Cougars’ Oregon West Conference match at Cascade, it marked the first time in a while the Cougars led one of the top teams in the state.
Philomath would come back to score a 3-1 victory, but it was another sign of progress out of a Cascade team that is making an improvement.
“We’re way further than we were last year, and this is where we wanted to be,” Loukojarvi said. “Last year we were just not doing well at all.
“And this year we knew that we were going to have a strong team. We have quite a few freshmen on the team this year and we knew that they were going to be good and our whole team was going to be good so we knew we could go further and we did better this year than we did last.”
Philomath (6-0 Oregon West Conference, 6-4 overall) all but clinched the league championship, but Cascade – which had won its previous four league games by a combined score of 24-0 – remains No. 2 in the conference at 4-2 and is 7-2 overall.
But the Cougars, who came into the match No. 6 in the OSAA’s power rankings, is almost a lock for the state playoffs.
“I’m excited,” said senior defender Mary Teubner. “I’m ready to go in there and kick some butt. Give it our all.”
Philomath, which forfeited its first four matches of the season for using an ineligible player, tied the match in the 30th minute as Carolyn Lillis scored.
But the match went to halftime tied 1-1, which was a good sign for Cascade.
“The starting part of the game was great,” said first-year Cascade coach Skip Collins. “Since I’ve been here at Cascade my first year, the girls have never had a JV team, they’ve had one team. In my first year I’m really taking a hit in regards to building two programs, but I think that’s what’s going to make Cascade great in the future to have a JV and varsity program.
“So on my roster today I carried 12 and 11 play. If I could have had a couple subs in there, just a couple fresh legs, I think the outcome could have been a little different, but the sacrifice for the program is the biggest thing because we want to be able to compete with Philomath.”
The Cougars started the match with a 4-5-1 formation and it worked well.
But Philomath did a better job of retaining possession by connecting passes in the second half.
Philomath’s Megan Kilgore scored in the 66th minute and Jenna Grunwald put home an insurance goal with nine minutes left in the match.
Compared with the first time the teams played this season when Philomath won 3-0 – or Cascade’s 8-1 loss to the Warriors last year – it’s significant progress.
“It was a tough loss, but we played stronger than we did there,” Loukojarvi said. “Getting that one goal before they scored, being ahead was an amazing feeling because we’ve never been ahead. That was awesome.”
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Philomath 3, Cascade 1
C- Loukojarvi 23:00; P- C. Lillis 30:00; P- Kilgore 52:00; P- Grunwald (Marshall) 71:00.