SHORELINE — The Snohomish girls soccer team had been waiting nearly a year for this moment.
Three hundred and sixty-three days removed from a disappointing season-ending exit as the No. 1 seed in the Class 3A Northwest District tournament, the Panthers found themselves state-tournament bound after 4-3 comeback victory over Squalicum in a battle of high-powered offenses on Tuesday night at Shoreline Stadium.
“It’s been part of our fuel all season. We were not happy with last year,” Panthers coach April VanAssche said. “And we talked about this year (that) we’re kind of coming in as underdogs (after) the way we started the season. That was a driving force for us. Way more fun ending the game like this when we had tears of joy instead of tears of sorrow.”
Snohomish has now won 12 of 13 games after stumbling to a 1-3-1 start against an early season gauntlet, and Tuesday night’s game encapsulated the Panthers’ season in 80 minutes: a tough start and quick, dominant response.
Junior Ravyn Mummey sent home the game-winner in the 67th minute, four different Panthers scored goals and Snohomish is one win away from calling itself a district champion after digging its way out of a 2-0 hole.
“We didn’t step down at all, we played well as a team, we weren’t selfish and those four goals we got were amazing,” sophomore Bree Nichols said. “It was a team effort. It wasn’t just one player dribbling through. It was pass after pass and then we got it all together.”
Squalicum’s Ireland Eaton notched the game’s first goal in the 21st minute, juking a defender 12 yards in front of the net and firing a shot past Snohomish’s keeper to give the Storm a 1-0 lead.
Eaton found the back of the net again in first-half stoppage time, but the Storm senior slow-played the Panthers’ defense just long enough for her teammate to drift behind the defense and get called for offsides, which proved to be a big break for Snohomish (13-4-1 overall) in a game ultimately decided by one goal.
The team’s luck changed in the second half, though.
Squalicum (13-4-1) extended its lead to 2-0 on a wild goal from Jamie Dierdorff. The senior sent what looked to be a lob pass towards the goal from the sideline that ended up being a perfectly placed shot out of the reach of Snohomish’s Cheyenne Rodgers and into the back left corner of the goal.
With their backs against the walls after falling behind two scores, the Panthers quickly went on the attack.
Nichols curved a pass in front of the goal and found Taylor Khorrami for a header that cut Snohomish’s deficit to 2-1 in the 47th minute.
That’s when things started clicking for Snohomish’s high-powered offense.
“It really helped us get a lot of energy going through us and got everybody hyped,” Nichols said of the team’s first goal. “It definitely was a big part of our success tonight.”
Shortly after Snohomish’s first score, Delaney Kaysner tied the match at 2-2 by scoring through a sea of defenders off of a corner kick, then Ruthie Hammer fired the go-ahead goal off of a rebound to give the Panthers a 3-2 lead.
Squalicum wouldn’t go away easy, though.
Eaton continued to wreak havoc on offense, notching her second goal of the night to tie the game back up at 3-3 in the 62nd minute.
Snohomish needed to find an answer to stop Eaton, and Van Assche said the team started marking her at times in the second half to try and slow her down.
“(She’s) super dynamic, constantly moving, definitely a handful for us,” VanAssche said. “She caused a lot of problems.”
The game wouldn’t stay tied for long.
Mummey delivered the game-winner five minutes later in a scrum in front of the net after a corner kick, and Snohomish’s defense weathered the Storm’s attempt to tie it back up late.
The scoring flurry continues. Ravyn Mummey gives Snohomish a 4-3 lead in the 67th minute. pic.twitter.com/TcnUc3Fq9H
— Zac Hereth (@ZacHereth) October 31, 2018
“(Khorrami) had a beautiful header and most of us thought it went in, so we all started screaming,” Mummey said. “But the keeper actually saved it and it popped out, and I was like, ‘Oh, ball.’ And I just hit it.”
Snohomish advanced to face Shorewood, which beat Edmonds-Woodway 2-1 on Tuesday, at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Shoreline Stadium with a district championship on the line.
“Now it’s just fun for the next game, but at the same time we’re going in hoping to win,” VanAssche said. “We’re going to give it everything we’ve got. Being district champions is a big difference from second place, and we know that.”