SNOHOMISH — The Glacier Peak and Sumner girls soccer teams met Wednesday night in a first-round Class 4A state playoff game that was a classic matchup of a youthful, upstart team squaring off with an experienced, powerhouse program.
This time the senior-laden Sumner program, making its 12th consecutive state-playoff appearance, prevailed.
Glacier Peak (15-3-1) struck first, Sumner (16-3-0) tied it up early in the second half and Payton Martinson’s stoppage-time goal off a corner kick secured a 2-1 victory for the visiting Spartans at Glacier Peak High School.
“Our strategy coming in and our strategy after that (Glacier Peak) goal I think were both the same,” Sumner coach Robi Turley said. “We have 12 seniors, and 12 seniors that have been to state four straight years, so I kind of was relying on that leadership, you know, to be like, ‘We’ve been here before. We’ve been down before — on the road.’
“… I know that Glacier Peak is very young and very good, so I was hoping that leadership and being here before would help us.”
The Grizzlies, who have just three seniors on their varsity roster, were making their first appearance in the state playoffs since 2010, and their first-ever appearance as a 4A school.
“For us, I feel like we played the better game,” Glacier Peak coach Melinda Torre said. “But that’s how soccer goes sometimes. The better team doesn’t always win, and we just didn’t stick one today.”
The Grizzlies were without standout freshman forward Ryann Reynolds, the team’s co-leader in goals scored at 16, who was nursing a hematoma on her leg that she suffered during the 4A Wes-King Bi-District Tournament championship game against Inglemoor.
“We had to change out the lineup quite a bit, but I still think we had the run of the play,” Torre said.
Glacier Peak started the scoring early in the first half when sophomore defender Kate Sprink took off down the right sideline in the 9th minute and fired a shot that Sumner goalkeeper McAllister Smith stopped, but the ball deflected right to Glacier Peak junior forward Annika Lambott, who rifled in a right-footer from just in front of the net for a goal and a 1-0 lead.
Grizzlies sophomore midfielder Chloe Seelhoff nearly added to the lead on a free kick in the 15th minute, but Smith leapt in the air to make a nice save at full extension, thwarting Glacier Peak’s scoring try.
Seelhoff sent in a left-footer in the 28th minute that appeared to give her team a 2-0 advantage, but it was waived off on an offsides call.
Sumner had a number of good looks at the net in the first half and controlled the ball on the Grizzlies’ side of the field for the bulk of the first 40 minutes while outshooting Glacier Peak 9-4. But the Spartans couldn’t capitalize on their scoring chances early thanks to a number of nice plays by Glacier Peak’s Neomi MacMillan.
The Grizzlies’ junior goalkeeper recorded six saves in the first half, including a leaping save in the 8th minute on a high, arching shot towards the back-right corner of the net.
The Spartans tied things up in the 45th minute after another stellar save by MacMillan ricocheted right to Sumner junior defender Rebecca Garrison, who found the back of the net from point-blank range to tie it at 1-1.
Things tightened up for the remainder of regulation, with neither team getting very many clean looks at the net.
After a back-and-forth battle into stoppage time, Sumner sophomore midfielder Martinson booted a corner kick that hooked right and deflected of Glacier Peak’s keeper’s hands and snuck just inside the goal post, securing the victory for the Spartans.
The loss ended a monumental season for the Grizzlies, which lost only one match in Wesco 4A play on their way to the first league title in program history.
“We’re a young team,” Torre said. “I feel really bad for our three seniors, but we’re … freshmen, sophomore, junior (heavy). This is a really good experience for these kids moving forward, knowing what they have to do and this is a loser-out game in state, and a lot of these kids haven’t had this experience coming into state.”