Riding the momentum of an underdog run through the district tournament, the Peninsula High girls soccer team was ready for its test against Bishop Blanchet in the opening round of the Class 3A state tournament on Wednesday night at Roy Anderson Field.
But for Peninsula, the run came to an end as the visitors blanked the Seahawks, 3-0, in Purdy.
The match was fairly even in the beginning, but the tenor changed when Blanchet slotted home its first goal in the 13th minute. Junior forward Gigi Gallaudet took a try from the distance, and the ball slipped underneath the keeper’s hands on what appeared to be a routine save to give the Braves a 1-0 lead.
“That’s tough, but we’ve been battling,” said Peninsula coach Jenny Buys. “I really felt like we could come back from it. The girls stayed in it, they flushed it. Accidents happen. We just kept on working hard.”
Peninsula’s sophomore keeper Ali Campigotto bounced back and recorded 21 saves, keeping her team in the game for much of the evening. But Peninsula (10-6-2) failed to find the back of the net.
“Ultimately, when you’re down one, you’ve got to score one,” Buys said.
Blanchet (10-6-3) added two more goals in the second half from Gallaudet, in the 49th minute, and Katie O’Kane, in the 77th.
Peninsula appeared something of a long shot to make the state tournament after finishing fourth in the 3A South Sound Conference. But wins over Lakes and Bonney Lake in the West Central III/Southwest bi-district tournament earned the Seahawks a spot in state and the privilege of hosting a game. In front of a solid crowd of fans and students, Peninsula fought hard against a tough Blanchet side.
“We kept fighting,” said Peninsula junior defender and captain Aoife Duffy. “It’s nothing unusual. Whenever we have the odds against us, we fight back. I’m so proud of this team for everything we’ve accomplished and our attitudes all season.”
For Duffy, it was her first trip to state, and she cherished the experience.
“It was an amazing accomplishment,” she said. “I’ll just remember the hard work that everyone put in every day. The family we have — we’ve bonded over the couple months we’ve been playing together.”
After the game, Buys beamed with pride about her team and optimism about the future.
“I’m super proud of this team,” she said. “We overcame a lot. … This is a dream come true for all of us. Unexpected joy is usually the best and we’ve enjoyed living in these moments. It’s for sure going to make us hungrier next year.”
At Fife 2, Clarkston 0: After a scoreless first half, Courtney Morton took it upon herself to get her team on the board.
The senior Fife midfielder got possession of the ball and drove past defender after defender, and in the 52nd minute, she scored.
“At some point, somebody has to do something that resembles doing good,” said Fife head coach Tony Crudo. “You have to risk things and be creative and interesting.”
The second Trojans goal came from Maddie Kinney in the 78th minute. The Clarkston defense crept up to try to equalize, but Kinney was able to sneak past and put it out of reach.
“We are having a great season,” Fife coach Tony Crudo said. “We’ll keep playing as long as they will let us.”
Ridgefield 1, at White River 0: In the 40th minute, Ridgefield’s Taryn Ries lined up for her penalty kick and netted it, sending the Spudders to the next round of the playoffs.
“It was a great game; we went back and forth the whole way,” said White River head coach Charlie Carlier. “We had our chances to score, possibly more than they did. If we had a few more minutes to play, I think we could have scored.”
The Hornets’ high-octane offense was marred by the Spudders playing strong defensively and shots not falling for White River. Players such as Annabelle Hall were only finding the posts.
Despite the disappointment for the Hornets, only three seniors will depart so they will have experienced players returning.
Skyline 2, Puyallup 0: The Spartans offense got off to a quick start against the Vikings when Mariah Alexander scored off a corner kick from Ava Giovanola in the fifth minute.
Skyline scored again in the 32nd minute when Alexa Kirton netted a pass from Saskia Slater. Anna Smith earned the shutout for the Spartans.
Staff writer Jordan Whitford contributed to this report