SHORELINE — Cheyenne Rodgers broke the stalemate.
And later on, Sara Rodgers provided the dagger.
With a pair of brilliant goals by the Rodgers sisters, the No. 2-seeded Snohomish girls soccer team clinched a state berth with a 2-0 win over No. 3-seeded Edmonds-Woodway in a Class 3A District 1 Tournament semifinal Tuesday night at Shoreline Stadium.
“Both Rodgers girls just figured out a way to put the ball in the back of the net,” Panthers coach April VanAssche said. “… They did what they do best — made a move, took a shot and put it in the back of the net.”
With the victory, Snohomish (13-3-2) secured its third consecutive state berth and its fourth in the past five full-length seasons. But it’ll be the Panthers’ first trip to state in two years, due to the cancellation of last year’s fall season and there not being a playoff during this past spring’s abbreviated season.
“I’m so excited, especially given last year that we didn’t have a state (tournament),” Cheyenne Rodgers said.
The victory also advanced Snohomish to Saturday’s district championship match against top-seeded Shorewood, which beat No. 5-seeded Ferndale 1-0 in the other semifinal. Edmonds-Woodway (9-6-2) will get another chance to punch its ticket to state Thursday, when it faces No. 8-seeded Shorecrest in a winner-to-state, loser-out match.
“I feel like we’re doing a good job peaking in different areas where we need to,” VanAssche said. “We’ve got some great leadership on the field, and I’m feeling really good about it.”
There weren’t many scoring chances for either team Tuesday night. But during first-half stoppage time, the Rodgers sisters took it upon themselves to break the scoreless tie.
Sara Rodgers, a junior midfielder, set up the opportunity. She received a throw-in on the right side of the field, created some space with her dribbling and fed a centering pass to her older sister.
Senior forward Cheyenne Rodgers then took one touch at the top of the 18-yard box and blasted a left-footed rocket, firing the ball into the upper-right portion of the net for a 40th-minute goal and a 1-0 lead.
“She fought for it,” VanAssche said. “She’d been trying a few times in a row before that goal to create that opportunity to get one off. And she found the perfect little opening and took it.”
That remained the lone score of the match until the 67th minute, when Sara Rodgers added an insurance goal. She stole a pass near the right hashmarks, took a few dribbles and then fired a well-placed one-hopper past the goalkeeper and into the left side of the net for a 2-0 lead.
“Edmonds-Woodway did such a good job putting pressure on us and really taking away most of our opportunities to even get a shot off,” VanAssche said. “That was just Sara being smart and wise and seeing that they weren’t quite stepping to her. And she just took it and perfectly placed (it) in the far corner.”
Sara Rodgers has provided a whopping 29 of the Panthers’ 60 goals this season, as well as four assists. Cheyenne Rodgers has added four goals and eight assists. The sisters have combined for four of Snohomish’s five goals in its two district tournament wins.
“I love playing with her,” Sara Rodgers said. “It’s really fun to work with each other. I feel like we have really good passes with each other and good chemistry.”
“It’s just been really fun,” Cheyenne Rodgers added. “And I’m really thankful that I get to play with her one more time before we go on to college.”
And while the Rodgers sisters provided the offense Tuesday night, the Panthers’ swarming defense did the rest. Snohomish surrendered very few legitimate scoring chances and posted its seventh shutout of the season.
“We knew it was not gonna be an easy game tonight and that we really had to do whatever it took,” VanAssche said. “And the girls definitely figured out a way to do that. … It was one of those games where they just had to kind of grit it out.”
Next up, Snohomish will play for its second district title in the past three full-length seasons. And after that, the Panthers will try to end their streak of first-round state tournament exits.
Snohomish has suffered an opening-round loss in each of its past five state tournament appearances, dating back to 2012. That includes first-round losses in 2018 and 2019, which were Cheyenne Rodgers’ freshman and sophomore seasons.
“I’m really excited for the state run,” Cheyenne Rodgers said. “I want to make it past that first round (and) keep pushing.”