As far as tests go, Bonney Lake’s soccer team was adamant about getting an ‘A.’
The Panthers battled to a 2-0 shutout of Kelso in the first round of the Class 3A state soccer playoffs on Tuesday night at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner.
“We hadn’t been tested like this in a while,” said Bonney Lake coach Luke Helling-Christy, who called the Hilanders’ first-half dominance a wake-up call. “I think it’s important going into (the next round) because until now, we’ve kind of coasted.”
Bonney Lake opened scoring in the eighth minute as sophomore forward Jessyka Seger applied constant pressure to Kelso goalkeeper Colleen Reynolds and snuck the ball toward the net.
“I was just getting really into it,” Seger said. “Today was different. They were a tough team.”
Reynolds popped it back out, but sophomore defender Haleigh Ryneski was there waiting, and she took it in from the top of the box.
“I don’t even remember how it happened,” Ryneski said with a laugh. “I got really good help from my team.”
Helling-Christy said his team had to make adjustments after Kelso continuously controlled the ball in the first 10 minutes.
“I felt the second half was much more productive,” he said. “We shut down what they were doing in the center of the field and up front.”
Kelso had a pair of missed opportunities in the 46th minute as senior forward Brianna Salberg shot toward the right corner of the net, but it popped back out.
The ensuing corner kick by sophomore forward Natalie Reynolds landed just shy of the goal and Panthers keeper Madi Lowery capitalized.
In the 47th minute, Bonney Lake junior defender Brittany Martin scored from about 15 yards out.
The victory was especially sweet for Bonney Lake, which was eliminated in the opening round last year against Meadowdale.
“I’ve never been in this position, so I’m pumped. I’m ready for the next game,” Ryneski said.
Bonney Lake will face the winner of today’s Shorecrest-Liberty game on Saturday.