SNOHOMISH — Coach April VanAssche admitted her Snohomish Panthers two weeks ago wouldn’t have forecast they’d be hosting a Class 3A state tournament opening-round game.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, after a thrilling 3A District Tournament run in which Snohomish pulled off three consecutive upsets to lock up its fourth state berth in the past seven years, the Panthers’ postseason magic vanished Tuesday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Snohomish yielded a first-half goal and eight minutes into the second half allowed another, suffering a 2-0 state round of 16 loss to District 2’s Lakeside.
“My girls played hard,” VanAssche said. “This is a very fast team, so they put us on our heels right away. I think the girls did a great job competing. It was tough. If we just put one away, I think it would have helped us a little bit, but I’m proud of my girls.”
Lakeside’s Elliana Blachman and Francesca Sheppard recorded the Lions’ goals, and Julia Miller logged an assist.
While Snohomish’s scoring chances came at a much lower volume than Lakeside, which owned a nine-to-three shots-on-goal edge, the Panthers certainly had a couple strong opportunities.
In the 36th minute, midfielder Anna Montemor received a beautiful pass that was threaded through a pair of Lakeside defenders. She quickly took a shot from 18 yards out, but the low ball missed just left of the post. Montemor reacted in disbelief, knowing she squandered a golden opportunity.
The miss came after Blachman gave the Lions a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute off a free kick that seemed to catch Snohomish off-guard. Blachman got behind the Panthers’ backline off a high, lofting kick, but the Snohomish defenders didn’t react, apparently expecting an offsides penalty. But no whistle was blown, and Blachman was given an uncontested shot on goal. She capitalized, sending a ball past goalkeeper Grace Wales’ head and into the top-left corner of the net from 20 yards out.
“I think that is one we’ll just chalk up and forget about it,” VanAssche said. “It’s one of those tough ones.”
Lakeside dictated the first-half run of play for the most part, and eight minutes into the second half the Lions made the Panthers’ road to a comeback much more arduous.
Miller played in a cross from right-to-left, placing it right on the foot of Sheppard, who jockeyed for position with a Snohomish defender before putting the ball past Wales with an impressive volley from close range.
Snohomish (11-9-1) kept battling, and in the waning moments nearly got on the scoreboard.
Taylor Khorrami had an opportunity from close range but couldn’t quite control the ball for a clean shot in the 55th minute. In the 70th, Jada Edelbrock nearly found the back of the net off a deep free kick from 35 yards out, and one minute later Kiana Campbell couldn’t get a foot on a low cross that dangerously scooted across the front of Lakeside’s goal.
“They weren’t willing to quit,” said VanAssche of her side. “They believed in themselves and fought hard. It would have been fun to win this one and get one more game at least, but just getting here I think shows what they have and what they are capable of.”