MUKILTEO – For a second consecutive season the Wesco 4A regular season girls soccer championship came down to Jackson and Kamiak playing in the final game of the regular season and for a second consecutive season the Timberwolves claimed the title.
After losing its first game of the season on Monday against Lake Stevens, Kamiak needed a win against Jackson to claim the crown. All the Timberwolves needed was a tie, but they got the win, 2-1 over the Knights.
“It’s a stop along the way, but because our league is also the same as our district, winning your league championship is just bragging rights,” Jackson head coach Jesslyn Kellerman said. “Winning the district is really what gets you the spot you want going to state. It’s a stop along the way and it’s a great stop. It was one of our goals at the beginning of the season, but still have a lot of work to do.”
It’s the third straight season the Timberwolves, who placed second at the 4A state tournament a year ago, have clinched at least a share of the league championship.
The Timberwolves and Knights played a scoreless first half before Jackson senior midfielder Kristina Serres opened up the scoring in the 47th minute. Serres headed in a deflected ball from a free kick taken by junior defender Rikki Myers to give her team the lead.
Senior Madison Cooley would later score the game-winner in the 74th minute in similar fashion, taking care of a deflected ball off of a free kick by Myers.
“Our free kick, the one we scored on twice, is kind of a non-organized free kick,” Kellerman said. “It’s kind of a chaos free kick, but that’s exactly what we want it to be. It’s hard to defend when you don’t exactly know when you’re going, you’re just trying to follow the ball. Rikki put in a great ball and it was just a matter of who really wanted it. Both of those goals were effort, not necessarily skill, but just effort.”
Kamiak answered Jackson’s first goal in the 53rd minute the same way the Timberwolves got both of their goals. Senior forward Emele Chaddock put away a deflected free kick by junior forward Alexie Morris.
It was a rough week for the Knights, who lost back-to-back games after starting the season 11-0-1 in league and 13-0-1 overall.
“They’ve set out their goals to make it to state this year and I just don’t see them backing off,” Kamiak head coach Beth Stewart said. “Tonight, I just felt like that game could have gone either way. We outshot them. We had the run of the play in the first half, definitely. I think they can build off of how we played, not necessarily the score at the end.”
Much of Wednesday night’s game was played in the middle of the field, but that didn’t keep it from being exciting. Kamiak and Jackson have been known for their physical games over the past few seasons.
“It’s just grueling and grinding,” Stewart said of the games between the two teams. “I think everybody is up for, but they all know what to expect. Everybody is giving their all on both sides. They’re fun to come be a part of, they’re stressful, but it’s always a good battle.”
The Knights will be the No. 2 seed in the district tournament — which starts Saturday — meaning they get a first-round bye and an automatic berth in the semifinals. If they can get past their semifinal game, they likely will meet Jackson again in the district championship, something that excited Stewart’s players.
“Then you’re going for the first seed into state,” Stewart said. “They’ll say bring it on.”
At Kamiak H.S.
Goals—Kristina Serres (J), Emele Chaddock (K), Madison Cooley (J). Assists—Rikki Myers (J) 2, Alexie Morris (K). Goalkeepers—Jackson: Kayleigh Sedlacek. Kamiak: Shannon Peth. Records—Jackson 13-1-0 league, 13-2-1 overall. Kamiak 11-2-1, 13-2-1.