PUYALLUP – The Jackson girls soccer team couldn’t quite find the magic it had in Friday’s 3-0 state semifinal victory over Skyline in Saturday’s 4A state championship game against Central Valley.
Instead, the magic belonged to Central Valley’s Kelsey Turnbow.
One day after scoring three goals in the final seven minutes to erase a two-goal deficit against the Spartans, the Timberwolves fell to Central Valley 5-2 – four of Central Valley’s goals belonged to Turnbow, who is defending Washington State Gatorade Player of the Year after winning the award as a freshman.
“She’s a really great player,” Kellerman said. “We did a really good job on her, but if you give her a little bit of space, she’s going to make it happen.”
Less than 24 hours after Jackson’s emotional win over Skyline, the Timberwolves were back on the field playing for a state championship. It seemed like a lot for the team to take in early in the game.
“It’s hard playing two games back-to-back,” Kellerman said. “We don’t do that in the high-school season usually. It’s tough to recover quickly enough, not only physically, but from such an emotional game last night. It’s hard to get the girls past the excitement and the craziness of yesterday.”
Turnbow scored in the third minute to give the Bears a one-goal lead that lasted most of the first half. Her second goal came in the 39th minute and once again the Timberwolves found themselves trailing by two.
But just as they proved against Skyline, the Timberwolves weren’t going down without a fight. Junior Madison Cooley scored in stoppage time to give Jackson a goal it desperately needed before halftime.
“It’s just such an amazing group of girls because they work so hard for each other,” Kellerman said. “Throughout the season, we’ve had games that we’ve won easily, we’ve had games that we battled and fought through and we’ve had games that we lost where we didn’t battle like this. It’s just so great to see the progression over the season and how they end the season just scratching and fighting regardless of what the score is. That says a lot about my girls.”
In the locker room, the Timberwolves were thinking they could pull off an epic comeback for a second consecutive night.
“We were definitely thinking we could do it again,” senior Lynnae George said. “We were in the locker room and we were pumping each other up. We really wanted to create chaos again and get to goal again, but try to keep our heads and not play sloppy.”
The Timberwolves weren’t playing sloppy, but they also couldn’t stop Turnbow. The sophomore earned herself a hat trick with a goal in the 53rd minute.
Trailing by two goals again, Kellerman changed her formation to the same attacking style Jackson used to comeback and beat Skyline.
“When you’re down a couple of goals, you just have to get everybody forward and kind of hope for the best,” Kellerman said.
Initially, the change worked, as George scored her second goal in as many days to draw the Timberwolves to within one in the 60th minute.
Unfortunately for Jackson, the switch made the defense more vulnerable.
“It’s also an easy way to give up more goals,” Kellerman said. “I don’t think the score is super-indicative (of how close the game was) because we have to throw everybody forward, so then there’s a counter-attack from 50 yards out, which usually doesn’t happen in a normal soccer game. You have to take those risks. Last night, it worked. Tonight, the defense was too strong.”
Central Valley’s Megan Dimmler and Turnbow each added goals in the final 12 minutes to make up the final margin.
“This year has been about improving our skills, building up our team and just being prepared for state,” George said. “I couldn’t be more proud of my team right now. We worked hard. We didn’t resort to playing dirty in that game. Down three goals, we were still pushing to get a goal. We didn’t lose hope. We wanted it bad, but it wasn’t our year this year.”
The second-place finish was the highest finish in Jackson’s history, but the girls still needed time for that to set in after Saturday’s loss.
“It’s going to (set in), but right now we’re still recovering from a tough game,” George said. “We still made history…We have Jackson pride. We’re really proud of each other and how we accomplished all that we did.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter at @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Sparks Stadium
Jackson – 1 1 – 2
Central Valley – 2 3 – 5
Goals–Kelsey Turnbow (CV) 4, Megan Dimmler (CV) Madison Cooley (J), Lynnae George (J). Assists–Alaina Bates (CV), Kristina Serres (J). Goalkeepers–Jackson: Callie Vanaelst. Central Valley: Chloe Sholtz. Records–Central Valley 20-2-0, Jackson 16-5-1.
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