SNOHOMISH — The only winning streak that truly matters is the one that starts once the postseason begins.
Lake Stevens ran its postseason winning streak to two, winning for the second consecutive night and ending Marysville-Pilchuck’s seven-game win streak by upsetting the Tomahawks 2-0 Tuesday in a 4A District 1 girls soccer game at Veterans Memorial Stadium at Snohomish High School.
The victory allowed the Wesco North No. 4-seeded Vikings (8-6-1 overall) to advance to a winner-to-state game against Edmonds-Woodway at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Veterans Memorial. The Vikings will be playing for a second state tournament berth in three years.
Lake Stevens’ junior Taryn Wright broke the scoreless tie seven minutes into the second half and Karissa Spafford added an insurance goal with eight minutes remaining to put an end to the Tomahawks season, a season that saw the Tomahawks make the postseason for the first time in school history.
“We’re coming together,” Vikings first year head coach Andy Knutson said.
Winners of five of their past seven, the Vikings have now put together two of their best games of the season with back-to-back shutouts in the postseason.
“We had a pretty rough start (to the season) with a new coaching staff. We were hoping that we were going to play our best soccer in the end of the year,” Knutson said.
It was the third meeting of the season for the teams from the Wesco North.
Marysville-Pilchuck had defeated the Vikings both times the teams met, but Marysville-Pilchuck head coach Geoff Kittle felt this Vikings team was a different one than the team they played in the regular season.
“They were a much different team than we played before. They were much improved,” the second year head coach said.
Defensively Lake Stevens outplayed the Tomahawks and offensively the Vikings took advantage of breakdowns in the Marysville-Pilchuck defense, leading to both Lake Stevens goals.
“They took advantage of a couple breakdowns on our part defensively and they scored off of both of them. Defensively they held us out pretty good; they didn’t give us any opportunities to score a goal,” Kittle said.
The Tomahawks did have one of the better looks of the night when Rebecca Muscatell’s first-half shot got past the diving hands of Lake Stevens’ senior goalkeeper Erial Three Stars and deflected off the left goal post and out of bounds.
“I felt like our girls weren’t really tight. Lake Stevens played a good game and to their credit they took advantage of the opportunities that they did get,” Kittle said.
Wright’s goal came off of a Kinslee Isaman pass. Isaman found Wright about 5 yards outside the net and the forward poked it into the net. Spafford added her goal 25 minutes later when she beat two Marysville-Pilchuck defenders and shot the ball into the right corner of the net.
“She’s been a reserve all year. She really hadn’t gotten a lot of time in and I’m really so proud of her for making the best out of her time,” Knutson said of the junior midfielder.
Once again the Vikings relied on their goalkeeper-by-committee strategy with Three Stars and junior Kaitlin McKenzie each playing a half.
For the Tomahawks (11-4-2) it was a disappointing end to a season that exceeded many people’s expectations.
Marysville-Pilchuck came into the tournament as the North No. 2 seed, after being picked in The Herald’s preseason coaches’ poll to finish seventh in the nine team Wesco North division.
“I’m just really proud of the girls. We had a strong core of seniors that really came together and provided a lot of energy in practice and training and helped us get through some tough situations in game. And they played with a lot of heart and determination,” Kittle said.
At Snohomish Veterans Memorial Stadium
Goals—Lake Stevens: Wright, Spafford. Assists—Lake Stevens: Isaman. Goalkeepers—Lake Stevens: Three Stars and McKenzie. Marysville-Pilchuck: Peterson.