TACOMA — For 59 seconds Tuesday night, the Jackson girls soccer team looked unbeatable.
Unfortunately for the Timberwolves, their 4A opening-round playoff game with Bellarmine Prep lasted much longer than that.
Jackson scored in the first minute, then watched as the five-time state champion Lions slowly took over. By the time it was done, Bellarmine had a 2-1 victory at Mount Tahoma Stadium and the Timberwolves’ season was done.
“We were the away team and we wanted to go out and score first to set the tone. We did that,” Jackson head coach Mike Bartley said. “It was pretty even from there, we just didn’t get it done in the last five minutes.”
Bellarmine senior Kelly Watts knocked in the game-winner with just two minutes, 50 seconds left on the clock. She dribbled by two defenders on the play, then barely rifled a shot past the outstretched arms of Jackson goalkeeper K.C. Wilson.
Each team had numerous chances to score in the previous 37 minutes of the second half, before that one decided it. The Lions had 10 shots on goal for the game, including five in the second half. Jackson had nine for the game and five in the second half.
“I thought we were going to score on some of those corner kicks. We’re usually pretty good on those and we had about 10 chances,” Bartley said. “We just couldn’t get it in there.”
The opening goal came when midfielder Laura Hernandez booted a great pass to midfielder Megan Bolmes, who then knocked an uncontested shot in for the 1-0 lead.
Jackson seemed to continue to control the next 20 minutes, before Bellarmine found its stride. Eleven minutes before halftime, the Lions barely missed on a series of three shots directly in front of the goal, the last one hitting the cross bar. Seconds later, they did get on the board off a goal from senior midfielder Gabby Levandowski from 15 yards out to even the score at 1-1.
Early in the second half, each team just missed on header attempts only a few yards from the net. Wilson made three more saves for Jackson, including a block of an uncontested shot with just more than eight minutes remaining, before Watts booted through the game-winner.
The loss brings to a close the prep career of Jackson senior Kristi Kingma. The forward, who last year was named The Herald’s All-Area Player of the Year in basketball, is considered one of the top soccer and basketball players in the state.
She was one of three players on the Timberwolves’ roster who played in their final game Tuesday night.
“She’s been a huge part of our program. She had a damaged leg and she was out there running her butt off tonight. She’s just a great role model for her heart,” Bartley said. “All three of our seniors have been outstanding their entire careers and all season. The whole team wanted to win this season for those three seniors.”
Bellarmine moves onto the quarterfinals, where it is scheduled to face the winner of Olympia vs. Eastlake .
At Mount Tahoma Stadium
Goals— Jackson: Bolmes. Bellarmine Prep: Levandowski, Watts. Assists— Jackson: Hernandez. Goalkeepers—Jackson: Wilson. Bellarmine Prep: O’Brien, Pederson. Records—Jackson 15-2-1. Bellarmine 16-3-2.