It was a special season for the White River girls soccer team. The Hornets came into Friday night’s 2A state semifinal at Shoreline Stadium having outscored their opponents 117-9 this season on their way to a 19-0 record and the No. 1 2A ranking in the state.
That special season ended on Friday with a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to defending state champion Columbia River in double overtime.
Less than four minutes away from going to penalty kicks to decide a winner, Columbia River sophomore Yanaisy Rodriguez scored off a deflection to send her team to the championship game.
“Honestly, I was in awe,” Rodriguez said of scoring the game-winner. “I turned around and I was like ‘Whoa, I scored that goal.’ All season I hadn’t been scoring that much, but I’m just really proud of the team and all the effort we put in to get here.”
The Hornets played most of the second half and both overtime periods down a player after junior midfielder Kinlee Hofstrom was red-carded in the 45th minute. Despite being outnumbered, White River looked poised to send the game to a shootout until Rodriguez found the net in a game that featured outstanding performances by both starting goalkeepers – Columbia River’s Alex Schulz and White River’s Ally Glebe.
It was a disappointing end, but White River head coach Joe Birklid was proud of his team’s effort throughout the game and season.
“We only lost one game, so it sucks that it was the last one,” Birklid said. “I’m proud of them. I’m proud of them tonight. They went down a player early in the second half and they battled.”
Not only were the Hornets outnumbered on the field thanks to the red card on Hofstrom, but they also lost their second leading scorer, sophomore Emma Robbins, to injury in the first half. Being down a player and not having Robbins proved to be too much headwind for a team that averaged 5.85 goals per game.
After Hofstrom was initially sent off, Columbia River didn’t immediately change how it attacked the Hornets, but that didn’t necessarily surprise Birklid.
“Statistically, going down a player doesn’t hurt you that much,” Birklid said. “We just dropped into a 4-4-1, and we changed our attack a little bit. But statistically, if you go down a player you don’t have any more of a chance of winning or losing. You’d think you would, but it usually doesn’t change the dynamics that much. They had a good gameplan, and they got their goal.”
Columbia River head coach Fillomon Afengus did change his attack, but waited until overtime.
“When she went out, you can’t call timeouts and change your tactics or anything,” Afengus said. “We stayed in our current formation, which is a little bit more defensive. When overtime came about and we were able to talk about it, we switched into something more attacking and we were able to produce that opportunity.”
The Hornets will play West Valley-Spokane at noon on Saturday for third and fourth place, while Columbia River will play Liberty of Issaquah in the 2A title game for the second consecutive season. The Chieftains beat the Patriots 3-2 last year.
Goals: Yanaisy Rodriguez (Columbia River).