By David Krueger Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH — During halftime Tuesday, Snohomish girls soccer coach April VanAssche called on her team to find a “game-changer” — someone to take over and spark the Panthers, who trailed Edmonds-Woodway 1-0.
Junior Brooke Pingrey answered the call.
Pingrey scored three goals in the game’s final 17 minutes to lead Snohomish to a 4-3 victory over Edmonds-Woodway in a 4A District 1, winner-to-state playoff game at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Snohomish.
“I was talking at halftime that we needed somebody to be a game-changer, and I asked Brooke to do it a couple times and she stepped up,” VanAssche said. “She owned it. She owned the back of the net.”
Pingrey’s first goal came in the 63rd minute, assisted by Ellie Otteson. Pingrey, who is listed as a defender, got a deflection and launched a strike from about 20 yards out that hit the far right post and bounced in, tying the score 2-2.
Eight minutes later, Pingrey gave the Panthers their first lead. With her back to the goal, she took a pass from Taylor Morrell, spun around and put the ball in the lower far corner past diving Edmonds-Woodway goalkeeper Kierra Towell.
In the 74th minute, Pingrey added a third, completing her hat trick with a shot from about 12 yards out with an assist by Kaytlin Willis.
“The whole time I’m running, I’m just thinking, ‘What run can I make? How can I get the ball,’” Pingrey said. “As soon as I get it it’s pretty much instinct. I don’t even think about it anymore.”
The Panthers needed all three of Pingrey’s goals to maintain their lead. Seconds after taking a 4-2 lead in the 74th minute on Pingrey’s final goal, Edmonds-Woodway freshman Madison Schultz netted her second goal of the game to keep the pressure on Snohomish in the final five minutes.
“I was just thinking, ‘Stop them,’” VanAssche said. “They were relentless on offense. I was just hoping my girls kept their composure. … We talk about it at practices, what to do in situations. I get to do as much as I can at practice and in the game it’s theirs. My job is just to try to facilitate and pray.”
Snohomish (12-3-2 overall) was the No. 1 seed out of the Wesco 4A North conference while Edmonds-Woodway (13-4-1) was the No. 2 team from the South. With the victory, Snohomish earned a spot in the district championship game against Cascade and assured itself of a state berth.
Getting that state berth secured early was a huge source of motivation for the Panthers.
“That was all the motivation. This team’s worked so hard this year,” VanAssche said. “Last year we were (in a) one-in to state, and we came out and lost. That was our motivation for this year. … That’s all they talked about at halftime. It took more goals than we thought but we did it.”
Edmonds-Woodway pressured Snohomish early, getting off three shots on goal in the first 10 minutes. One of those, a strike by sophomore Rylee Peterson, snuck past Panthers’ goalkeeper Taylor Knapinski in the eighth minute to give the Warriors the early lead.
The score remained that way until the 42nd minute, when Morrell, one of two Snohomish seniors, scored on a counter after an E-W corner kick. Makenna Wheeler assisted on the goal.
The Warriors regained the lead 10 minutes later when Schultz scored her first goal of the game off a Peterson assists.
Then Pingrey took over.
“Really the whole time we were playing, what was going through my head, was remembering the last couple years,” Pingrey said. “Whenever we lost at state, remembering the looks on the seniors’ faces. I’d cry for days. And I’m not going to let Morgan (Green) and Taylor (Morrell) go through that. I wanted to win this for them.”
Pingrey and the Panthers fought through a constant rain for 80 minutes, and an Edmonds-Woodway team that seemed like it was always threatening to score.
“We’ve definitely come back in really high scoring games when we were down by two or three goals, so we knew they could do it,” Pingrey said. “(Edmonds-Woodway) is an amazing team, definitely one of the best ones out here. I’m just really proud of my team for working hard.”
And as exciting as Tuesday night’s finish was, Pingrey does have one hope for Thursday’s district championship.
“Hopefully our next game won’t be as high-scoring,” she said with a smile.
At Snohomish H.S.
Goals–Rylee Peterson (E-W), Madison Schultz (E-W) 2, Taylor Morrell (S), Brooke Pingrey (S) 3. Assists–Peterson (E-W), Makenna Wheeler (S), Ellie Otteson (S), Morrell (S), Kaytlin Willis (S). Goalkeepers–Edmonds-Woodway: Kiera Towell. Snohomish: Taylor Knapinski. Records–Edmonds-Woodway 13-4-1 overall. Snohomish 12-3-2.