Gateway: Sports

Facing elimination on three separate occasions, Peninsula soccer advances to 3A state tournament

The Peninsula High School girls soccer team advanced to the 2018 Class 3A state tournament after beating Timberline in a penalty kick shootout, 3-2.
The Peninsula High School girls soccer team advanced to the 2018 Class 3A state tournament after beating Timberline in a penalty kick shootout, 3-2. Courtesy

When Peninsula went to penalty kicks against league foe Timberline in a loser-out, winner-to-state game in the Class 3A state tournament, Peninsula keeper Ali Campigotto was ready for the challenge. And she delivered — big time.

Campigotto saved Timberline’s first two attempts, stretching out, diving and swatting them both away. Her teammates did the rest, giving Peninsula to 3-2 penalty kick win, after the teams ended the second overtime period knotted at 2-2.

“I was just trying to put the team on my back,” Campigotto said. “I just wanted them to know I can do that. They didn’t have to worry about it.”

Once playoffs start, Peninsula spends a significant chunk of practice time working on penalty kick scenarios.

“We practice it every single day — religiously,” said Peninsula coach Jenny Buys. “It’s a big deal for us.”

Elyse Donley, Madison Grande and Janae Lewis converted penalty kicks for the Seahawks. In the game’s regulation, Peninsula went into halftime, trailing 1-0, before bouncing back with second-half goals from Arica Hodkinson and Madison Grande. Timberline scored late in the second half to tie the score at 2-2.

But when it came down the shootout, Campigotto and the Seahawks were prepared.

“Ali is just super confident,” Buys said. “She’s got that swagger. She stood there knowing she was going to save them. It’s awesome as a coach. We’re not surprised she saved it twice.”

Campigotto, for her part, said she doesn’t guess left or right on penalty kicks, but instead, tries to react to the player’s cues.

“I don’t like to guess — I like to react,” she said. “If you’re guessing, you don’t have a good shot. If you react, you’re better at getting to the ball.”

All told, Peninsula played three elimination games in the West Central III/Southwest bi-district tournament, and won them all. Peninsula opened the tournament with a 1-0 win over Bethel in a loser-out game, before losing 5-1 to crosstown rival Gig Harbor, pushing the Seahawks to the other side of the bracket, meaning Peninsula would need to win its final two games to advance to state.

The Seahawks did just that, beating Mountain View, 3-0, before knocking off Timberline in the final game to take the No. 5 seed into the state tournament. Peninsula will face Kamiakin at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6 in Kennewick in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament.

Peninsula’s resiliency in the bi-district tournament was emblematic of how the entire season has gone for the Seahawks.

“We haven’t started the same 11 in two consecutive games all season, because of injuries or other circumstances,” Buys said. “No matter what, the girls work super hard and try their best. We’ve overcome a lot of things. Somehow, we still have that grit to keep winning.”

If Peninsula can come away with a win against Kamiakin, the Seahawks will face the winner of the Mt. Spokane/Shorewood game in the state quarterfinals.