By Jon Saperstein Herald Writer
SEATTLE — During the soccer playoffs, the difference between jubilation and tears is always razor thin.
Unfortunately for the Everett girls Friday night at Leon H. Brigham Field at Seattle Memorial Stadium, they felt the pain of the thin blade’s edge thanks to a 2-1 (5-4 shootout) loss to Holy Names in the 3A state quarterfinals.
“There is no margin of error when it comes to these games,” Everett coach Kosta Pitharoulis said. “You’ve got to be on your best for the entire 80 minutes.”
The Seagulls nearly were, including holding a 1-0 edge for the largest portion of regulation, but a momentary lapse let the Cougars back in and one extra mistake during penalty kicks sent Holy Names through to the semifinals.
“All I wanted to do was force them to make mistakes,” Holy Names coach Teddy Mitalas said.
Cougar goalkeeper Kayla Basket saved the second Seagull shootout attempt, giving them the early edge in penalties. Everett’s goalkeeper nearly saved the Cougars’ third attempt, but it slipped through her fingers and over the goal line. Everett saved the fifth attempt by Holy Names and Katie Johnson scored a penalty kick, which made the tally 4-4 through initial round of five. After another successful shot by the Cougars, Everett’s final try was stuffed by Basket and Holy Names rejoiced in the center of the cavernous stadium.
“Certainly, it’s a tough way to close it out,” Pitharoulis said.
Holy Names is guaranteed at least two more games beginning next Friday at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. First there’s a quarterfinal game against the winner of Kamiakin and Mt. Spokane, and either a consolation game or the 3A championship the following day — potentially against Meadowdale which plays today to earn a spot in the semifinals.
From the opening kick, the Cougars looked ready to avenge the 1-0 loss to Everett in both teams’ first game of the season on Sept. 4. That nonleague match was a coincidence because the coaches new each other since Mitalas coached at Shorecrest for 18 years before moving to Holy Names.
The Cougars looked more poised and did a better job of taking care of the ball early, putting pressure on the Seagulls defense and making sure goalkeeper Katie Johnson wasn’t comfortable in goal.
Besides a ninth minute corner kick, Everett didn’t really pose much of an offensive threat until a bouncing Cougar pass went the Seagulls way.
A Holy Names defender’s mistouch about 40 yards from the goal, gave Maddie Reed a free run down the right side of the field. With a defender in her face near the goal line, the senior midfielder served up the perfect cross that may have knocked off the back post and ricocheted in the net if not for a streaking Morgan McCarty, who converted an easy finish. McCarty’s header gave Everett at 1-0 lead in the 24th minute.
Everett picked up the aggressive play for the rest of they game and moved with more energy and confidence after going ahead, but a little overeager play by the defense earned a foul and a free kick about 25 yards from the goal in the 54th minute.
The Cougars’ AJ Fischer took the free kick and bent it around the Everett defensive wall, where Emily Suhadolnik was waiting in front of the goal. Johnson had no chance to stop the Suhadolnik header and Holy Names tied it.
“I wasn’t sure what the foul was,” Pitharoulis said. “Doesn’t really matter I guess.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t as organized as we should have been. It’s something that we talked about. Pretty much that was their (scoring) chances on set pieces. We’ve known it. Their coach is quoted in the paper saying it. It’s a little bit frustrating that we come in with that knowledge and we didn’t utilize it to the best of our abilities.”
Mitalas noted that the Cougars have been practicing set pieces for a month and his team scored six goals on such plays in the past four games.
“Big teams score on set plays,” Mitalas said.
It wasn’t a fitting end for a strong Everett team — one that has made the state playoffs the past two years, but has fallen short of the standard set by the 2008 state champions.
“It felt like we were the better team, but they did a great job pressing us and getting that equalizing goal,” the Everett coach said. “We had moments of mental and physical lapse that contributed to us losing unfortunately.”
At Seattle Memorial Stadium
Goals—Morgan McCarty (E), Emily Suhadolnik (H). Assists—Maddie Reed (E), AJ Fischer (H). Goalkeepers—Everett: Katie Johnson. Holy Names: Kayla Basket. Records—Everett (15-5-1 overall), Holy Names (15-5-2)