SNOHOMISH — Glacier Peak, a couple of times during regulation, came close to connecting with freshman goal-scorer Ryann Reynolds off corner kicks. Grizzlies coach Melinda Torre was confident Reynolds could produce a goal if she could get just enough space in the scoring box to operate.
In the dying moments of the first overtime period, with a state berth on the line, sophomore Chloe Seelhoff and Reynolds delivered.
Off a corner, Seelhoff sent a perfectly-placed ball into the box. Reynolds made a clear run at it, squarely connected with her and sent the ball into the back of the net and the Grizzlies to their first state berth since 2010.
“It just felt good, because we have been working for this for the whole season,” Reynolds said. “I knew we were going to get one. We just had to get there. It was amazing. I can’t even explain it.”
Playing a golden goal overtime format, Reynolds’ goal was a walk-off winner as the rest of her teammates mobbed her and Seelhoff in celebration. The result was an entertaining, evenly matched 3-2 Wes-King 4A District Tournament winner-to-state victory over Eastlake on Tuesday night at Glacier Peak High School.
The win sets up Glacier Peak for a bi-district championship game against Inglemoor at 7 p.m. Thursday, at a location to be determined, and ensures the Grizzlies (15-1-1) will play a home game to open the 4A state tournament.
The state berth is Glacier Peak’s first in the Class 4A level and GP’s third overall (2009, 2010).
“The kids have been talking about it all season,” said Torre of reaching the state tournament. “It’s been their goal. You can see there are tears from these kids, because they are a little drained from the game. It was very stressful. Eastlake is a great side, and they played really great soccer.”
Twice Glacier Peak led, but each time Eastlake promptly responded with goals.
The Grizzlies took a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute thanks to a bit of luck. GP’s Abigail Varghese played a threatening cross into the box, but the Eastlake defender attempting to clear deflected the ball into the corner of her own net.
Four minutes later, the Wolves tied the game with a brilliant individual effort by sophomore Maia Tabion, who scored both of Eastlake’s goals. Tabion found the smallest amount of space to line up a shot from 30 yards out and curled a beautiful ball into the top-left corner of the net to tie the game at 1-1.
The game remained even until Grizzlies junior forward Aaliyah Collins worked the Grizzlies into a second half penalty kick opportunity. Collins skillfully worked her way through a few Eastlake defenders before drawing contact in the box. Seelhoff took the PK and buried a shot just under the crossbar to give GP a 2-1 lead in the 53rd minute.
Again, the Wolves wasted no time responding.
Two minutes later an Eastlake player sent a cross into the box that found the head of Tabion, who put a shot past GP goalkeeper Neomi MacMillan into the top-right corner of the net. The goal came right after MacMillan had made a tremendous save on a long shot from Eastlake.
Both teams had scoring opportunities down the stretch, but Reynolds ultimately provided the dramatic game-winner.
“It’s been really exciting,” said Torre of GP’s breakout season. “I think these are kids that are more like me and my personality. They hate to lose. They come to practice and they compete. … They are just competitors, and they love what they do and they have a good time doing it, and these girls just love each other. From the very beginning they were a real tight-knit group, and it was just something special. I feel lucky to be a part of it, and I’m really proud of those girls.”