By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
Izzy Haselip is not just the only member of the McNary girls soccer team to have played Summit.
She’s also one of the few girls in the entire state who can say she has defeated the girls soccer giant, winner of five of the last six 5A state championships.
The last time Summit lost a playoff game, Haselip was there, celebrating with her Silverton teammates a 4-3 upset in the 2016 semifinals. Haselip scored the second goal of the game.
“The intensity was crazy and the atmosphere,” Haselip said of the playoff game at Summit. “We had so many fans. They had so many fans. It was loud and crazy.”
After her sophomore season, which ended with a 3-2 loss to La Salle Prep in the 5A state championship game, Haselip decided she needed a change and transferred to McNary.
“I feel like when I came here it was way more welcoming,” Haselip said. “(McNary head coach) A.J. (Nash) was super excited to have me. That was nice, being the new person and everyone was so welcoming. My transition was so easy.”
Nash expected Haselip to lead McNary’s offense last season.
“In the initial trainings last year, we knew that she was a forward that could change the way our offense operates,” Nash said.
However, a sprained ankle suffered during practice changed the course of her junior season. Haselip missed four league games and finished the year with only three goals.
“I was disappointed that I didn’t really get to showcase how good I can be,” Haselip said. “I felt like I was never really a 100 percent and I felt like it was always kind of nagging me.”
Back healthy, Haselip showed what she’s capable of in McNary’s first game of the 2018 season.
Trailing 1-0 in the second half at South Medford, Haselip tied the game with a header and then snuck behind the Panthers defense to score the game-winning goal.
“The injury played as much of a mental toll and a fitness toll as anything last year and even though we got her back and she did produce, she just never caught up,” Nash said. “This year to see her get out there and get confidence early opens up so much for this team. I’m really proud of her.”
Haselip believes McNary can make a playoff run this season, similar to Silverton’s in 2016.
“I really feel like we can go farther in the playoffs this year,” she said. “I feel like we’re just a different team from last year. It’s our atmosphere and our confidence. I feel like we kind of lacked that last year and we have a lot more captains and a lot more leaders on the field. I’m really excited about it and how well we play together now. It’s exciting.”
As for Summit, who McNary hosts on Saturday, Sept. 29 at noon.
“I’ve talked to (my teammates) about how big they are and how aggressive they are and how dominant they are when they have the ball and how well they are shooting from the outside,” Haselip said. “It’s going to be a different game.
“I feel like we’re becoming way more dominant and confident in ourselves that we can compete with them this year. I think they’re so used to being dominant in 5A that they’re going to be surprised when they play 6A teams.”
Haselip would know.