For the Puyallup High girls soccer team to stay in the hunt for the 4A South Puget Sound League title and end Curtis’ recent reign of dominance, the Vikings needed to win Saturday morning at Sparks Stadium.
The only problem was that they faced third-place Emerald Ridge, which was coming off an Oct. 15 loss to Rogers. But after a back-and-forth fight, Puyallup came away with 2-0 shutout, keeping their league-title hopes alive.
“They (Emerald Ridge) were clearly not pleased with their loss to Rogers, so they came with their ‘A’ game today,” Puyallup coach Matt White said. “(Maddie Nolton) and (Kaylee Baker) just played a great game.”
The win solidifies Puyallup’s (9-2-2, 8-1) hold on second place while keeping alive a shot at the league title. Emerald Ridge (6-7-1, 5-5) fell into fourth place with the loss.
After finding nothing for three quarters of the match, Puyallup finally got on the board when Katelynn Wood found the back of the net in the 65th minute.
“That was a play straight out of the playbook,” White said. “All Morgan (Easley) had to do was look up and see where the ball needed to go.”
After Saige Lyons shot a pass to her Vikings defender, Easley saw that Wood got in front of Nolton, Emerald Ridge’s midfielder, and Baker, a defender, deep down the middle.
Easley popped a 30-yard forward cross that landed right at Wood’s feet, allowing the Puyallup forward to pop in the easy toe poke for the 1-0 lead.
“I think they just beat us fair and square,” Baker said about Puyallup’s first goal. “We’ll definitely move on — you can’t let one game effect our playoff chances.”
Puyallup found success with the same play minutes later, but it was Sunny Beiber smacking in a goal to push the Vikings’ lead to 2-0.
“We knew we wanted to finish the game off so it wasn’t so tense,” Beiber said of her goal. “We practiced a bunch of combination (pieces) at practice, and we’re finally starting to add them to the game.”
For Emerald Ridge, the loss dropped them to fourth behind Graham-Kapowsin (6-6, 5-4) by a half game coming into this week, but the tie would go to the Jaguars since they won both of their meetings against the Eagles this season.
“We just want to put ourselves in the best position going into the playoffs,” Baker said.
Emerald Ridge has two games left on the season while Graham-Kapowsin still has three, including games against both Puyallup and Curtis. The results of Tuesday’s Puyallup versus Curtis were not available as of press time. For results of that game, visit puyallupherald.com.
Curtis 5, Rogers 0:
Morgan Weaver stated the Vikings of University Place’s main goal this season: reach the final four in the Class 4A state playoffs.
And after Curtis (13-1, 10-0 league) shutout the Rams on Friday night at home, it looks like this might be the year the Vikings from University Place can achieve that goal.
“We’re playing really well and together, and all our focus right now is to be one of those final four teams,” Weaver said.
Curtis can secure the 4A SPSL South league title with a win over rival Puyallup on Tuesday at Sparks Stadium. If Curtis wins, it will be their third consecutive league championship with Weaver.
For Rogers (5-7), the loss is particularly painful as it pushes the Rams to 3-6 in league and puts them on the outside looking in at fifth place. For Rogers to reach the playoffs, the Rams need a lot of help. Coach JR Farias is keeping things realistic heading down the stretch.
“I’m going to be honest here that it doesn’t look good,” Farias said. “If GK can win a game or ER wins one, then that’s it for us ... we need to win all three of our games, and then hope one of them drops a game ... and GK owns the tiebreaker against us.”