WILLIAMS -- Hidden Valley wasn't supposed to be here. The Mustangs' girls soccer team wasn't even supposed to make it out of the first round, if we are to trust OSAA's seeding process to a perfect science.
Here we are. The Mustangs, a nine-seed in the 16-team 4A girls soccer state tournament, advanced out of the first round, beating North Bend 4-2 on the road. They proceeded to beat the top overall seed, North Marion, in a thrilling 2-1 overtime win. Again, in the semifinals, they grinded out a one-goal win, topping No. 5 Molalla away from home, 1-0.
Three wins in three road tries have this Mustangs team believing in the road warrior mentality that championship teams are sometimes made of.
"On the road, we have done really well together, because we have become more like a family," junior forward Nyah Kendall said, "We're compassionate about each other. We trust each other. We've been through so much together that we've just become so close with one another."
While they are actually the higher seed in the title match, as No. 10 Valley Catholic will be across the way, the state title will essentially be another road game. The match will be held in Hillsboro, a 20-minute drive from Valley Catholic. Hidden Valley will have to make the nearly 5-hour drive north and stay overnight before the Saturday match.
"Last game, I told everyone that no matter what, nothing was going to go in," senior goalie Erica Alfred said, "Nothing did. So, every time we go on the road, we just go over what everyone is going to do to win the day."
That might make it seem like the Mustangs would be behind the eight ball again, just one win from a state title. They've made it this far, though, and they haven't let the adversity crush them yet.
"We did a team building activity with a 12-foot wall, where we took all the players and coaches over a 12-foot wall," head coach Dennis Hart said, "All we had was us and the wall. We championed that as big challenge to overcome."
The Mustangs are about 10 feet up the wall this season. On Saturday, they get one more push to try and get over it.