SNOHOMISH — The Snohomish Panthers girls soccer team has only lost three games all season.
Two of those losses have been to the Jackson Timberwolves.
Jackson improved to 2-0 against the top team in the Wesco 4A North Tuesday night, defeating Snohomish 3-1 in a district semifinal game at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The victory clinched a berth in the district title game and the 4A state tournament for the Timberwolves.
“It’s huge,” said Jesslyn Kellerman, the Jackson head coach, of the win. “It just takes a lot of pressure off because we’re going to be continuing in the winners’ bracket. We don’t have to (win) anymore games to know we’re going to state.”
Kellerman said that Jackson doesn’t have any secret knowledge about the Snohomish team, which they also defeated 2-1 on Oct. 1 at Everett Memorial Stadium.
“No. We just played phenomenal,” Kellerman said. “We just moved the ball. If we don’t give a team very much time with the ball they can’t really do anything. We just played really well. We didn’t really focus very much on how they were going to play, we just focused on how we wanted to play.”
Jackson did a good job of passing the ball around and keeping it away from Snohomish, especially in the early minutes of the game. Kristina Serres put Jackson up with a goal in the 19th minute off an assist from Rikki Myers. After Snohomish tied the game, the Timberwolves reclaimed the lead with a Drew Locknane goal from about 25 yards out that got over the Snohomish goalkeeper.
Locknane had to be helped off the field earlier in the half after a collision with a Panther player, but quickly returned and found the back of the net to give Jackson a 2-1 advantage before halftime.
“She just kind of got hit in the head. We just needed to make sure she sat out and made sure that everything was OK before we put her back in,” Kellerman said. “Coming in she’s kind of been in a little drought and been wanting a goal and I think that she just wanted it so badly it was going to happen one way or another.”
Lynnae George padded the Timberwolves (14-1-3 overall) lead with a third goal in the 70th minute.
The win sets up a Wesco 4A South showdown in the district championship game, with Jackson taking on Edmonds-Woodway, 3-1 winners over Kamiak, Thursday night at Goddard Stadium. The two teams tied twice this season and finished with identical league records of 12-1-2, making them Wesco 4A South co-champions.
Even though a state berth is already locked up, Kellerman said that her team would really love to win a district championship. The Jackson head coach said it didn’t matter who the Timberwolves played in the district championship game but suspected her players might have a preference.
“It still means a lot,” Kellerman said. “We’re co-champs of the Wesco (4A) South and it feels good, but we kind of want more so being Wesco champs would be huge.”
Snohomish (13-3-1) faces Kamiak before the district championship game on Thursday — also at Goddard Stadium — in a loser-out third-place game. The winner hosts the No. 3 seed out of the Kingco league on Saturday for the district’s final state berth.
Brooke Pingrey, the only senior on the Snohomish team, had the lone goal for the Panthers on a free kick from about the 40-yard line. The 45-yard shot tied the score at 1-1 in the 25th minute, which lasted until Locknane’s 31st-minute goal.
Snohomish had several other scoring opportunities in the game but just couldn’t capitalize and get any closer to the Timberwolves, who outshot the Panthers 14-7 in the game.
“They’re a good team,” Kellerman said. “As you can see one free kick and there’s a goal. They can turn the game around.
“We were really confident and I think having beat them before gives us a little more confidence,” she added. “But they’re a really good team. They play very direct so we just knew that we had to put pressure on them and not give them time to hit those deep shots.”
At Veterans Memorial Stadium
Goals–Kristina Serres (J), Drew Locknane (J), Lynnae George (J), Brooke Pingrey (S). Assists–Rikki Myers (J). Goalkeepers–Jackson: Callie Vanaelst. Snohomish: Taylor Knapinski. Record–Jackson 14-1-3 overall. Snohomish 13-3-1.