Woodinville’s strategy for winning soccer games is pretty simple: If the other team doesn’t have the ball, they can’t score.
Thanks to that scheme and a generous assist from Mother Nature, Woodinville moved on to the 4A state championship game.
Taylor Bolibol scored in the 50th minute, heading in a corner kick from Adrienne Biddle and the Woodinville Falcons dominated the second half of a windy, rainy semifinal to take a 1-0 victory over Jackson Nov. 21 at Harry E. Lang Stadium.
“The wind came out a little bit in the second half,” Jackson head coach Mike Bartley said. “It’s a bit of a shame that conditions outside determined it a little bit.”
Jackson, which out-shot Woodinville six to three in the first half, was out-shot nine to four in the second half when the wind blew firmly behind the backs of Woodinville players.
“I definitely felt that the wind was a huge advantage,” Bolibol said. “It’s kind of luck of the draw that we were on the right side.”
Woodinville placed third at state last year, but graduated eight seniors from that team, leading to some surprise that the Falcons were doing so well so quickly. The Falcons lost 2-0 to Skyline in the state title game on Nov. 22.
Jackson fell 3-1 to Mead to take fourth place. Freshman Cara Wegner scored the lone goal for Jackson. The fourth-place finish marked the third time in five trips to state that the Timberwolves have picked up some hardware. Jackson also finished fourth in its state debut in 2004. The Timberwolves can look forward to 2009 as it graduates one senior, captain Katie Reese.
With the score 0-0, Woodinville dominated the second half of the semifinal matchup almost from start to finish.
The Falcons took a corner kick just two minutes into the second half, and followed that up seven minutes later with another corner kick that led to a shot attempt barely blocked out of bounds by Jackson defender Molly McPherson.
McPherson’s block saved an almost sure goal and momentarily preserved the tie. But it was a short-lived celebration for Jackson.
The block led to a third Woodinville corner kick, and this time Biddle lofted a perfect pass from the left corner up to Bolibol, who headed it through for the game’s only score.
Woodinville kept up the pressure, keeping the ball on Jackson’s half of the field for long stretches of time and forcing Jackson keeper K.C. Wilson to make tough saves in the 50th, 61st and 74th minutes.
Things were so lopsided in the second half that Woodinville wasn’t even hurt by having a goal called back.
With 16 minutes remaining in the game, Falcons midfielder Heather Thomas lobbed a free kick from 30 yards out up and over Wilson for what momentarily appeared to be an insurmountable 2-0 lead.
But the goal was called off, even as Thomas ran toward the referee screaming in protest.
“He never restarted the clock,” Bartley said. “She started before the clock had started.”
The call allowed Jackson to remain within striking distance for the rest of the game. The Timberwolves had three scoring opportunities in the final five minutes, but couldn’t force overtime.
Jackson’s standout freshman Cara Wegner received a free kick pass from McPherson near the top of Woodinville’s box with just four minutes remaining but her shot was wide right.
With two minutes remaining, McPherson, standing deep on the left side of Woodinville’s box, couldn’t quite get her head on Jackson’s last corner kick, popping the ball high and to the left.
Finally, with just one minute remaining, Wegner had a shot blocked by Woodinville defenders while standing just yards away from the goal.
“We knew they were a good air attack team,” Bartley said of Woodinville.
Alex Bosworth writes for The Herald in Everett.