EDMONDS — Five weeks ago, Edmonds-Woodway for the fourth straight game failed to score a goal and found itself in the middle of the Wesco 3A standings.
Warriors coach Bill LeCompte re-assessed his team, examined what was transpiring from a fresh perspective. The club found their cure, and it wasn’t a groundbreaking new tactic or personnel change.
“I think we were putting too much pressure on ourselves to perform, trying this, trying that,” LeCompte said. “We really took a step back and said we need to relax and be us.”
The new stress-free approached sparked a dominant run of wins in nine of the Warriors’ last 10 games, including a 3A District 1 tournament title in which Edmonds-Woodway shutout four straight opponents.
Bonney Lake became the latest victim Tuesday night.
Kyra Hicks scored a pair of goals, Michaela Danyo scored and Edmonds-Woodway held Bonney Lake scoreless for 74 minutes during a 3-2 Class 3A first-round state tournament win at Edmonds Stadium.
“I thought we played pretty relaxed and loose after the first 12 seconds when they had that shot on frame,” LeCompte said. “I just think we went about our business the way we should. It makes a big difference in a game like this where you might feel pressure.”
The Warriors (13-3-3), who are back in state for the fourth time in the past five seasons, will play Mercer Island next in the state quarterfinals on Saturday at Edmonds Stadium.
Despite Edmonds-Woodway playing much of the first 40 minutes in their defensive half of the field, the Warriors capitalized on their scoring opportunities.
A brilliant individual effort by Danyo in the 19th minute gave Edmonds-Woodway a 1-0 lead. The junior midfielder dashed down the far side with the ball at her feet for at least 25 yards before finding some open space to fire a shot. Facing an extremely difficult angle, Danyo placed a low shot moving right to left that crossed the face of Bonney Lake goalkeeper Eliza Christensen. The ball ricocheted off the inside of the far post and into the back of the net.
“She loves to hit it as hard as she can,” LeCompte said. “For three years now, we have been working on placement over power, and that was a mix of both. She picked her shot and went for it, and placed it with good pace.”
Although the Panthers were frequently on the attack, the Warriors’ stingy defense limited threatening scoring chances. E-W goalkeeper Hannah Hicks was tested five times during the first half, and each time she easily turned Bonney Lake away.
Edmonds-Woodway struck quickly again in the 31st minute. Midfielder Gaby Chappell, with the ball at her feet on the left side of the field 35 yards from goal, saw Kyra Hicks making a run to the middle of the 18-yard box. Chappell, with great precision, lofted a ball into the middle of box right to Kyra Hicks, who collected the pass, took a touch or two and blasted a shot past Christensen from close range to give EW a 2-0 lead.
Kyra Hicks, who had been called up from JV earlier in the season, extended the Warriors’ lead to 3-0 eight minutes into the second half. The sophomore fought off a defender to her right and fired a shot from 20 yards out that found the upper-left corner of the net.
“Kyra, that second goal, to spot it and go for it was impressive, and it worked out well for us,” LeCompte said.
Edmonds-Woodway got complacent late, boasting a three-goal lead. Bonney Lake standout Kaylee Coatney, with six minutes to play, put the Panthers on the board with a shot from close range. Four minutes later she unleashed a shot from at least 35 yards out that sailed just above the outstretched hands of Hannah Hicks and into the back of the net to trim Edmonds-Woodway’s’ lead to 3-2.
“To give up two goals is uncharacteristic of us,” LeCompte said. “They’ve got to do a better job of not letting the ball get on frame, and for most of the year that is what we have done and why I think we are here.”
The Warriors’ defense tightened in stoppage time to prevent a wild Bonney Lake comeback.