SNOHOMISH — Glacier Peak had gone more than 600 minutes of game time this season without allowing a goal in conference play.
With a pair of perfectly placed shots, Kaeden Hansen finally broke the seal on the Grizzlies’ net.
And in the process, she lifted the Jackson girls soccer team to a share of the league crown.
Hansen netted two exquisite second-half goals and the visiting Timberwolves rallied to claim a split Wesco 4A title with a 2-1 win over Glacier Peak in a cold, windy and tense regular-season finale Tuesday night.
“Kaedyn’s come up big for us all year,” Jackson coach Terry Ryan said. “Kaedyn is just money. She plays her butt off, never complains and she’s such an inspiration.”
The Timberwolves (12-2, 7-1 Wesco 4A) entered the night trailing Glacier Peak by one game in the league standings, with their lone conference loss being a 1-0 defeat to the Grizzlies on Oct. 7 in the teams’ first meeting.
Glacier Peak (12-2, 7-1) entered Tuesday’s rematch with a perfect record in league play, having outscored opponents 26-0 in its first seven conference matches. And after a spectacular first-half goal by Izzy Thoma, the Grizzlies appeared on their way to the Wesco 4A crown.
But Hansen turned the tide, scoring goals in the 50th and 67th minutes to give Jackson a comeback win and a share of the league title with Glacier Peak.
“I’m just so excited about our team,” Ryan said. “We kept our heads in the game, we stayed focused and we came back and won it.”
With the Timberwolves trailing 1-0 early in the second half, Hansen tried to squeeze a pass by a Glacier Peak defender, but the ball was deflected right back to her.
Hansen then immediately kicked it again, this time launching it from about 30 yards out and sending it just over the goalkeeper’s head and into the back of the net for an equalizing goal.
“It was just a screamer,” Ryan said. “There was nothing the goalie could do on it.”
That goal snapped the Grizzlies’ lengthy conference shutout streak. But for Jackson, a draw still would’ve meant a runner-up finish in Wesco 4A. To earn a share of the league title, the Timberwolves needed to win.
Hansen took care of that by scoring another goal soon after — with some help from her fellow senior captain.
After Jackson moved the ball into the attacking third with a nice buildup, midfielder Kate Russell received a pass and used a quick touch to get past a Glacier Peak defender. Russell then delivered a short through ball to Hansen, who was running toward the left post.
Hansen coolly struck the ball from a few yards out, sending it just inside the post and past the goalkeeper’s outstretched arms for the match’s deciding goal.
“That was just beautiful,” Ryan said. “… The girls were trying to get some tight passes earlier in the game, and they just weren’t dropping. But that one, the setup for that was just beautiful.”
Glacier Peak threatened in the closing moments, but the Timberwolves held on to deny the Grizzlies their second consecutive outright Wesco 4A title.
“It means everything,” Hansen said. “… It just proved how hard we worked. We really, really wanted it, and we made it happen. And it was a huge team effort. The defense was amazing. It was just great.”
Glacier Peak’s lone goal came in the 36th minute, when Thoma stole a pass, dribbled to the right hashmarks and fired rocket from 30 yards out. The ball soared past the leaping Jackson goalkeeper’s hands, grazed the bottom of the crossbar and fell in for a 1-0 lead.
“Her goal was incredible,” Grizzlies coach Melinda Torre said. “She hits those in practice all the time and she has yet to fire one off in a game like that, so I was super happy to see her just take the opportunity.”
Glacier Peak had several other chances earlier in the first half, but wasn’t able to capitalize on them. And after the Grizzlies controlled most of the first 40 minutes, Jackson began creating more opportunities after the break.
“We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities that we had in the first half, and (Jackson) just gained momentum,” Torre said. “And sometimes that’s really hard to turn around.
“We’re still in good shape,” she added. “The kids are super disappointed. They know they didn’t play to their potential tonight. … (But) I feel we can use that as a learning tool.”
Jackson received the tiebreaker over Glacier Peak for Wesco 4A’s top seed, by virtue of Wesco’s preseason numerical draw.
Both teams advance to the Class 4A Wes-King Bi-District Tournament, which includes four teams from Wesco 4A and six from KingCo 4A. The top five finishers in the bi-district tournament advance to state.