With scoring opportunities at a premium on Saturday afternoon, Puyallup High coach Matt White stressed to his players the importance of recognizing the moment a chance finally materializes.
And after 83 minutes of going toe-to-toe with Bellarmine Prep in a winner-to-state Class 4A West Central District match at Art Crate Field, the Vikings didn’t hold back when that chance presented itself.
Junior Sierra Carrington scored on a point-blank shot off a feed from Allison Shelton in overtime, sending Puyallup (14-2) to the state tournament for the third year in a row with a 1-0 win over the Lions.
“You never know if this might be your only thing, so you have to sell out for the one and only opportunity you might get,” White said. “Sierra just sold out everything for that one shot.”
Carrington and Shelton exchanged passes at the edge of the box before Carrington got a solid foot on it. Bellarmine goalie Kiley Adams dove on the ball, but referees ruled that the ball had crossed the line.
“I was really confident and tenacious with it,” Carrington said. “The goalkeeper did a good job, but I got my toe on it.”
“Oh my goodness, what a great combination of passes,” White added.
The goal ended a back and forth battle between two teams that met in the first round of the state tournament last year, a contest Bellarmine won.
“Anytime you have an overtime loss in the playoffs, it’s a heartbreaker,” Bellarmine coach Joe Waters said. “In our opinion, the ball didn’t cross the line. But that’s the way it goes. The referees called it.”
Neither team had very many good looks at goal in the first half, and the trend continued in the second half. Puyallup nearly broke the scoreless tie in the 71st minute on Jessica Udovich’s hard shot at the left corner from 10 yards out, but Adams made a diving save.
Bellarmine finished the season 8-6.
Curtis 2, Kentwood 1 (2 OT)
Junior Alyssa Cabral sent a high arching shot into the top right corner of the goal from 10 yards out, lifting the Vikings to a double overtime win over Kentwood (10-5).
“I looked up and saw no one in the box,” said Cabral, a 5-foot midfielder who was selected to the all SPSL first team. “I was trying to be selfish for a few seconds for the good of my team.”
Curtis’ Lanie Vinson scored in the first minute to give the Vikings (13-2) a lead that held up until Kentwood’s Sterling Peterson lofted a shot from 25 yards out over the head of Curtis goalie Jess Cox in the 66th minute.