From their first day on campus, Oregon Tech’s seniors on the women’s soccer side had grandiose visions.
“We always planned to achieve something great by the time we were seniors,” Amiee Bruner said when sharing thoughts about the Hustlin’ Owls, who a week ago completed Cascade Collegiate Conference play 10-0-2, and the league championship.
“We knew it wasn’t going to happen right off the bat, but we held ourselves to high standards in practice and wanted to push each other,” she said.
“We knew it would take work and that we would have to build on each year,” Hailey Satyna said.
“We tried to treat it like family. We have one of the best defenses in the conference, and our bench players are as good as our starters. Everyone can fill in the roles we need. We understood we had one goal.”
That goal was the conference title.
Having achieved that, OIT clinched its first ever berth in the NAIA national championships, which begin Nov. 22 at 16 sites around the country.
First, though, there is the conference championship tournament.
“We’re not done yet,” Satyna said.
“We’ve come close, but we’re still not satisfied,” Bruner, a Henley grad with a family history of athletes at Oregon Tech, said. “We’re in unmarked territory, but excited to represent Oregon Tech at the national level.”
“We have worked hard to be able to play,” Satyna said. “We did all of the little things. We even pushed snow off the field to play.
“We just have to be good at time management. Obviously, we’re here to go to school, but also get to play soccer. We set our goals high. We’re really excited.”
For Bruner, winning the conference is especially meaningful.
Her cousins Tim and Joey Bruner were standouts on men’s basketball teams as they developed a national-caliber culture in that sport.
“Growing up, I don’t think local kids take OIT seriously, but I can leave knowing I can be proud of what happened here,” Bruner said.
There is a caveat, however.
“Someone shouldn’t come here if they’re not willing to push themselves because OIT is capable of achieving a lot of great things,” she said.
Bruner, Satyna and Kylie Cowell, Salyna Blue, Haley Janky, Taylee Miyamura and Jenna Stiehr, all of whom are part of head coach Brandon Porter’s first recruiting class, leave having started a legacy in soccer in which the Hustlin’ Owls can play at a high, championship, level.