Victory sends Jackson to state soccer tourney

EVERETT — It took three tries for Jackson High School’s girls soccer team this season, but the third time was the charm for the Timberwolves against Kamiak.

Jackson, which lost to the Knights in the teams’ first meeting and tied Kamiak in its regular-season finale, finally got a win against the Knights when it mattered most with a 1-0 victory in the 4A District 1 championship game Thursday night at Goddard Stadium.

The victory secured a district trophy and a berth in the state tournament for the Timberwolves.

“It’s awesome. It’s what we’ve been working for all season,” Jackson coach Jesslyn Kellerman said. “It feels good to come out with a win in such a hard-battled game.”

Jackson senior defender Lynnae George redirected a corner kick by Olivia Carter in the 65th minute for the lone goal of the game. The Timberwolves held on against Kamiak despite the Knights outshooting Jackson 12-4.

“I think that Kamiak always gives 100 percent effort. They’re good in the air and they’re dangerous on any free kick or set piece,” Kellerman said. “The only thing about playing a team so many times in a season is you get to know them well. We knew what we needed to do and the girls just committed to doing it tonight.”

Kamiak (12-6-1 overall) hadn’t lost a game since a 2-1 defeat to Mount Vernon on Sept. 24th. The Knights won nine consecutive games and were 11-0-1 since then, with the tie coming against Jackson on Oct. 29, almost exactly one week before Thursday’s district championship.

“Emotionally, that’s a tough one,” said Kamiak head coach Beth Stewart. “That’s a tough loss. The game could have gone either way at any given time.”

The Knights play Snohomish, 1-0 winners over Mount Vernon in a loser-out game Thursday night, in a winner-to-state game at 3 p.m. Saturday at Arlington High School. Kamiak, which defeated Snohomish 3-2 in an overtime thriller on Tuesday in the district semifinals, is 2-1 against the Panthers this season.

“To know that you’re going to play against Snohomish for a chance to go to eastern Washington is a little disheartening,” Stewart said with a laugh. “But we’ll go battle Snohomish again. It’ll be tough. But at the end of the day it’s still (for) the state tournament and I think they’ll rally for that. We set out a goal to make it to state this year so hopefully we can stick with it.”

Both teams had opportunities to score in the first half, with one of Kamiak’s best chances coming in the 56th minute when a shot by Knights forward Sidney Schmidt flew just over the crossbar.

Jackson (13-4-1) had a pair of scoring chances early in the second half before George connected on the corner kick.

“Lynnae, who scored, she played defense, midfield and forward in the game tonight. She played everywhere we needed her to,” Kellerman said. “She just stepped up.”

The Jackson coach said her team, which had to travel to Spokane for the first round of the state tournament last year, had a goal to play its first game at its home field this season. Kellerman also believes the Timberwolves’ tough Wesco 4A competition, including Kamiak and Snohomish, will help prepare her team for the 4A state tournament.

“I think it’s really great because between us, Snohomish and Kamiak there’s different styles of play,” Kellerman said. “We get the opportunity to play against teams, like Kamiak, who are really good in the air and really strong. And then you play against a team like Snohomish who have really good individual players and who can move the ball really well. It kind of prepares us for whatever we see in state.”

At Goddard Stadium

Goals–Lynnae George (J). Assists–Olivia Carter (J). Goalkeepers–Kamiak: Shannon Peth. Jackson: Callie Vanaelst. Records–Kamiak 12-6-1 overall. Jackson 13-4-1.

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