The battle for the new Class 3A Pierce County League title is going to be a tough one.
If the Bonney Lake High girls soccer team didn’t know that before Tuesday night’s game against visiting Wilson, it does now.
Wilson (2-1, 2-0 league) midfielder Savannah Baker sneaked the game-deciding goal past Bonney Lake goalkeeper Jamie Flynn in the 63rd minute to lift the visiting Rams to a win.
“Something broke down in the middle where one of our players wasn’t tracking the ball,” Flynn said. “It was a great shot, I’m not going to lie. She kind of just placed it perfectly in the corner where I couldn’t get to it or my defense couldn’t get to it.”
Flynn (five saves) kept the game scoreless before the half when she made a jumping punch to deflect a 30-yard free kick from Wilson midfielder Morgan Greene.
“At this point, it’s kind of a reaction,” Flynn said.
Despite creating several chances — and generating one breakaway run after another — Bonney Lake (2-1-1, 1-1) was unable to put away shots against Wilson’s back line.
“They were fast in the back, and that made me nervous,” Smith said.
Jasmine Smith, a senior, and freshman Kaylee Coatney found ways to out-dribble and out-maneuver Wilson’s midfield to put pressure on the Rams defensive line and keepers. But as soon as the Panther duo reached the final third of the pitch, nothing came easy.
“They had really tight defense, and they made it hard to get a good shot off. And the shots I did have an opportunity, I had to make it really quick,” Coatney said.
Bonney Lake had several chances to score after Baker’s goal, but the Panthers discovered how difficult it can be to find the net on a tough Wilson defense. It seemed the closer the ball inched toward the Rams goal, the better Wilson defenders Scotti Russell, Nora Riches and Hailea Kosa played, parrying every attack Smith and Coatney made on goal.
“After we scored our goal, we tried to just keep them there, make sure no one stabs, no one does anything too dangerous,” said Russell on Wilson’s defense. “I think (what) won us our game is that our goalkeepers (Aiden Matthews and Olivia Swenson) were just outstanding.”
In the 67th minute, Coatney connected a through ball to Smith down the right sideline. It led to Smith making a cut in the right-corner to give herself a one-on-one chance with the keeper. Smith dribbled at the goal, but right at the last second, Russell made a tackle on the Panthers’ speedy forward to force a weak shot on goal.
“I thought I had more time, and when I tried taking a shot at the last second, it didn’t work out,” Smith said.
Despite being shutout, Bonney Lake outshot Wilson, 13-8, in the home loss.
“They are tall, they are fast, and they are strong. But I like that — they’re a good team, and it’s good competition,” Bonney Lake coach Wayne Farris said.
Bonney Lake will travel to Bethel (2-0) on Thursday (Sept. 15) to play the Braves at Art Crate Stadium.