EVERETT — Thursday night the Edmonds Woodway girls soccer team did something abnormal at the center of the field at Frank Goddard Memorial Stadium.
They fought with each other.
After a convincing 3-1 victory over Jackson in the 4A District 1 championship game, for a brief moment, the Warrior girls fought over who got to hold the newly awarded district trophy.
Shortly thereafter the girls returned to the place they were for the rest of the night — the same page — as they celebrated with their boisterous fans which spilled over from the stands onto the field.
The win was as convincing a victory as there could be against such a strong opponent. Jackson (14-2-3) suffered just its second loss of the season and the game was a surprise outcome after the teams tied 1-1 and 0-0 during the regular season.
But the Warriors weren’t surprised they came out on top.
“I think the first couple times we didn’t play the way we wanted to and the way we like to,” said Edmonds-Woodway coach Bill LeCompte. “That’s credit to Jackson. They are a heck of a team. Tonight, we just figured out how to put it on the field and it was great to see.”
In the 14th minute, Hannah Thuesen found herself alone in front of the Jackson goal with the ball in the far left corner of the Timberwolves end courtesy a cross rocketed to her by Savanah VanCitters. The senior forward flicked a shot into the right side netting to give the Warriors the only goal they’d need and the first in over 104 minutes of play between the two teams.
“It’s about time somebody scored in these games,” LeCompte joked.
Thuesen added a second goal in the 75th minute when Jackson keeper Callie Vanaelst came out an aggressive play to try to push a counterattack, but the Warrior forward chipped a loose ball over Vanaelst’s head into an empty goal. Thuesen’s first goal seemed to galvanize the Warriors, who came out much sharper and more aggressive than they did last Monday in the 0-0 tie.
“We definitely came into this game with a different mentality,” Thuesen said. “We wanted to win so much more than any game we’ve wanted to win before.
“We knew we needed to start off fast and we knew we could beat them.”
The good news for Jackson is that the team lives to play another day and advances to the state tournament that begins next week. The bad news is that instead of hosting, the Timberwolves have to travel over the mountains to face an opponent on the east side of the state and then if they were to win, likely make another trip east again.
Jackson coach Jesslyn Kellerman felt her team was a bit caught off guard by how hard the Warriors came out after her team outshot them 21-2 last Monday.
“I think so,” she said. “We knew we could beat them. I think that we took our skill for granted and didn’t do the hard work that we needed right from the whistle.
“(The Timberwolves) came out right of the bat with a ton of energy and a ton of pressure. They knew what they needed to do to slow us down and they did it really well.”
Jackson’s closest chance came when Warrior keeper Kiera Towell nearly misplayed a laser shot in the 65th minute. It squirted through her legs, but the junior barely managed to push the shot off the post and fall on the ball.
In the 40th minute the Warriors got their second goal on a Melissa Long shot with a Salina Saucedo assist to take a commanding 2-0 edge heading into the break.
For the Warriors, who were a surprise winner of the district crown in 2011, this was a special win.
“We’ve built as a team,” Thuesen said. “We’ve come so far. We’ve gotten the exact goal that we wanted to get from the beginning of the year, coming together and winning it together.”
And it will mean a lot for the Warriors to have the chance to get their first 4A state win in front of the home fans next week.
“We have the fans with us,” Thuesen said. “The fans are what we need to give us the energy to play hard in the game.”
At Goddard Stadium
Goals—Hannah Thuesen (EW) 2, Melissa Long (EW), Kristina Serres (J). Assists—Savanah VanCitters (EW), Salina Saucedo (EW). Goalkeepers—Edmonds-Woodway: Kiera Towell. Jackson: Callie Vanaelst. Records— Edmonds-Woodway 14-2-2 overall. Jackson 14-2-3.