Momentum carries Lake Stevens to state

SNOHOMISH — The Lake Stevens Vikings may not have been the favorite to make it to state after going 6-6-4 in the Wesco North during the regular season and earning a No. 4 seed in the District 1 Tournament. Head coach Andy Knutson knew it and relished it.

“We played the underdog card,” Knutson said.

The underdog Vikings won three games in four days, capped off Thursday by what was their most dominating performance to date, beating the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors 3-1 in the district’s third-place game. The win puts them in the state tournament with fellow Wesco members Snohomish and Jackson.

The Vikings came out running on all cylinders, completely dominating the Warriors. The Vikings took five shots and scored a goal before the Warriors even got a shot on the Vikings goal. That first goal came less than 12 minutes into the game, when Danielle Ali crossed the ball from the left to the right center and Kristina McGee kicked it in from 23 yards out.

After the first goal, the Vikings didn’t let up on the pressure and 13 minutes later Sandra Osborn was able to knock in an Alyssa Spafford corner kick.

Then, five minutes later, Alexa Moriarty was able to work the ball up the right sideline and just barely sneak it inside the left goalpost past Warrior goalkeeper Jordan Holmes for an unassisted score.

Aside from having 10 shots in the first half to the Warriors four, the Vikings controlled the tempo and rarely let the ball get on their end of the field. Their aggressive style had the Warriors looking skittish at times and luck was on their side as well.

“I think we got a few good breaks,” Knutson said, noting that the first and third goals the Vikings scored hit a goalpost before going in. “It was our night.”

In the second half, the Warriors were more assertive, getting the ball into Vikings territory more often and getting more shots on goal. Ten minutes into the second half the Warriors had a corner kick that was placed perfectly in front of the goal. Several shots came close, but goalkeeper Erial Three Stars blocked them all and eventually the Viking defense was able to clear the ball.

In the 57th minute, Warrior midfielder Cheyenne Smith delivered a perfect pass across the field, to a streaking Carly Mackay on the right wing. Mackay was able to shoot the ball from 18 yards out on the right side and get it in for the Warriors’ score.

The remainder of the game went back and forth with the Warriors often utilizing goalkeeper Jordan Holmes’ strong leg on free kicks and even having her take a shot on goal on a free kick from 35 yards out. The comeback attempt fell short, though.

Knutson said his team built momentum throughout the tournament in its winning efforts against Shorewood and Marysville-Pilchuck. He wants to capitalize on that momentum and carry it into next week when the Vikings start their quest for a state title.

“(The) plan is to keep getting better everyday,” Knutson said.

At Snohomish Veterans Memorial Stadium

Goals—LS: McGee, Osborn, Moriarty. EW: KacKay. Assists—LS: Ali, Essman. EW: Smith. Goalkeepers—LS: McKenzie, Three Stars. EW: Holmes. Records—E-W 9-9-1 overall. Lake Stevens 9-6-4.

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