The ball seemed to hang in midair forever, but when it finally came down Jason Bauknecht was waiting for it.
Bauknecht, Peninsula High’s senior goalkeeper, palmed a last-second chance from the Wilson Rams over the crossbar to send the Seahawks on to the Class 3A state soccer playoffs with a 1-0 win in the West Central/Southwest bi-district round Saturday at Auburn Memorial Stadium.
“I wasn’t letting it go in,” Bauknecht said. “I knew we had like 10 seconds when he had the kick, so it was either that or we were going into overtime.”
Peninsula (14-4) will travel to play either Kennewick or Eastmont, the top seed from the eastern region, Tuesday night as one of the final 16 teams in the state-title hunt.
It was a harrowing final few minutes for the Sea-hawks, because the Rams had several solid chances at the goal. With about 10 minutes to play, Wilson’s Chris Peterson slammed a 25-yard free kick off the crossbar. Bauknecht said he couldn’t see the shot until it was too late.
“That was a rocket free kick,” he said. “I was just hoping it was going off the bar. I couldn’t do much against it.”
Peninsula got the only offense it needed when senior forward Cole Madden scored in the 19th minute. He ran up to a pass from Taylor Olson, heading it over charging goalkeeper Mason Portalski.
“I just executed,” Madden said. “I just finished it.”
It’s the first state berth for the Seahawks in coach Terry Stebner’s five-year tenure. They avenged a 3-0 loss to Wilson in a non-league game earlier in the season.
“These guys took it to us the first time we played,” Stebner said. “I really thought we were the better team (Saturday) and it wasn’t a fluke win.”