Everett smashes its way into 3A state tournament

MOUNT VERNON — The Everett Seagulls girls soccer team received a lesson in staying sharp after building an early lead Tuesday, barely holding off Meadowdale in a semifinal win.

Consider that lesson learned.

Everett scored four first-half goals, including two on free kicks by defender Valerie Stahl to claim the 3A District 1 championship with a 7-0 victory over Sedro-Woolley Thursday.

“We did kind of let up and sit back,” Everett coach Kosta Pitharoulis said of Tuesday’s contest. “(We) kind of made a promise to each other as teammates and coach-to-players that that wouldn’t happen this time.”

And it didn’t, as Everett dominated the contest from start to finish, outshooting Sedro-Woolley 24-2.

The Seagulls struck early and often against the over-matched Cubs. In the 12th minute, Everett won a free kick from 25 yards out. After the ball was set, forward Sele Vance ran up to the ball, feigned a kick, and Stahl followed by hammering it into the lower left corner for the 1-0 lead.

Midfielder Madison Taylor made it 2-0 four minutes later, putting a shot in the upper right corner from 20 yards away.

Despite enjoying the same early 2-0 lead they had against Meadowdale Tuesday, the promise the Seagulls players and coach made to each other inspired Everett to keep the pressure on Sedro-Woolley.

Stahl scored her second goal of the contest in the 30th minute on a free kick nearly identical to her first, though this one found the right corner rather than the left.

“Well, it’s kind of a secret,” a laughing Stahl said of the free kick play the Seagulls ran to set up her two goals. “But yeah, we have our set play that we’ve been practicing.”

Everett’s fourth goal came via penalty kick by Annie Sittauer in the 37th minute for her team-leading 10th goal of the season.

With the game well in hand thanks to a 4-0 lead at halftime, the Seagulls began packing it in, resting some of their regulars and letting the bench players get some action.

But even that didn’t stop the yellow and blue onslaught, as Everett scored a trio of goals in the final 15 minutes.

In the 65th minute, Taylor’s shot from outside the penalty box bounced off the arms of Sedro-Woolley keeper Carrie Sprague, right to Brittany McMullen, who netted the rebound to make it 5-0.

Kylie Beeson added a goal in the 78th minute and Tessa Fox capped the scoring in the 79th minute. Forward Sele Vance had three assists and Taylor added two in the lopsided final.

Everett goalkeeper Emily Nesting also recorded her 10th shutout of the season, though she was rarely challenged.

“We had an opportunity to scout (Sedro-Woolley) and the formation that they were playing (and) came up with one to counter it and it worked beautifully,” Pitharoulis said.

Sedro-Woolley can still qualify for state with a victory over Meadowdale on Saturday.

“We just need to step up,” Sedro-Woolley coach Justin Diener said. “(Meadowdale’s) a team that we just need to come ready to play.”

Saturday’s starting time has been changed from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and will be played at Mount Vernon High School.

At Mount Vernon Stadium

Goals—Everett: Stahl 2, Taylor, Sittauer, McMullen, Beeson, Fox. Assists—Everett: Vance 3, Taylor 2, Peebler. Goalkeepers—Everett: Nesting. Sedro-Woolley: Sprague. Records—Everett 15-4 overall. Sedro-Woolley 11-8.

Meadowdale 1, Arlington 0: Fortunately for Meadowdale, a soccer contest is 80 minutes long – and then some.

Freshman forward Madelyn Null scored the game-winner in stoppage time on a bizarre play that gives the Mavericks another shot at state on Saturday.

Null’s shot bounced off the crossbar down into the goal and was not initially signaled as such. But the assistant referee signaled the ball had broken the plane of the goal, and after a brief conference with the head referee, the goal was awarded.

The Mavericks take on Sedro-Woolley Saturday in a winner-to-state, loser-out contest at 4 p.m. at Mount Vernon High School.

At Mount Vernon Stadium

Goals—Meadowdale: Null. Goalkeepers—Meadowdale: Zickefoose. Arlington: Boulton. Records—Meadowdale 9-9-1 overall. Arlington 3-14-1.

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