The Olympia High Bears started their state quarterfinal match perfectly. Within five minutes Friday night, they held a 1-0 lead against Skyline of Sammamish, scoring on a Sophie Wood goal.
That lead lasted for all of three minutes before the Spartans tied the score, which held for the rest of the half.
Early in the second half, the four-time 4A girls soccer champions took command against the host Bears, putting in an early goal and controlling the rest of the state quarterfinal match in a 2-1 win at Ingersoll Stadium.
“Skyline’s a great team. When you’re in the top eight in state, everyone is good. It could have been anyone’s game,” Olympia coach Tessa Effland said.
The scoring started in the fifth minute when Olympia’s Jenna Killman took a winding run down the right flank, then crossed the ball to fellow forward Wood, who put a right-footed shot past keeper Katie Gibian.
The Spartans replied in the eighth minute with a high-arcing shot by forward Lauren Carson over Bears keeper Sophie Kabel into the top left corner of the goal.
After being denied by a spectacular Kabel save earlier in the second half, Skyline forward Kelli Sullivan broke free on a counterattack and scored on a header in the 55th minute.
The shot margin was 4-3 in favor of the Spartans in the first half. That margin grew to 11-1 in the second half as they took control.
“Skyline is known for taking 16 shots a half, so that isn’t really a surprise. They have a great attack; that is their strength,” Effland said. “Defensively, we played strong. We just didn’t get one in the back of the net.”
The scoring margin could have been larger if not for a couple of spectacular saves by Kabel and a handball in the Olympia 18-yard box that wasn’t deemed a penalty in the first minute of the second half.
A year after finishing third in 4A, Effland said she is proud again to have coached her team to the state tournament and is looking forward to her junior class’ last opportunity next season. The Bears ended with a 15-3-2 record.
“I’m really excited for the girls. They’ve really bought into our style of play and what we’re all about,” Effland said. “We have a incredible junior class that’s really the heart of this team.”
Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627