There’s fast, and then there’s lightning-quick forward Karlee Stueckle, who turned on the jets to lead Emerald Ridge to a district win at Sparks Stadium.
In the early game at Sparks, Stueckle and Emerald Ridge’s attack bolted by Kentwood for a 3-1 win in the opening round of the West Central District 3 girls soccer playoffs. Emerald Ridge (8-7-1) faces Bellarmine Prep (9-2-4) at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday at Lincoln Bowl.
“I was really determined (to win) this game because we had nothing to lose,” Stueckle said. “We were just (trying) to possess the ball and find our forwards.”
Stueckle and her track speed proved too much for Kentwood to handle as the sophomore forward flew right through, around and by Conquerors defenders as she nearly came away with a hat trick in the victory.
“I didn’t know I could get through all of them, but I just kept going,” said Stueckle, who nearly completed the hat trick after flying by five Conk defenders and rifling off a 23-yard shot that found the keeper.
Kentwood’s season ends at 7-9-1 with the loss.
Emerald Ridge opened up the scoring after Stueckle dribbled deep into Kentwood’s side of the pitch.
After some work, Anna Watsek laced a pass onto Stueckle’s right foot and she put it away for a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute.
After junior McKenna Strong tied the game up for the Conks, Stueckle was seen again minutes later, blowing by defenders as she found pay dirt on a one-timer to put the Jaguars up, 2-1.
“We did our homework on Kentwood a little bit, and we felt there were some things that could give them problems,” Emerald Ridge coach Dan Stueckle said.
After Karlee Stueckle and sophomore Mareonna Henderson worked the ball down toward Kentwood’s goal, Emerald Ridge captain Maddie Nolton was able to connect with a header from Stueckle’s cross to push the Jaguars lead to 3-1 right before the half.
“I honestly just closed my eyes and it when in,” Nolton laughed about her header. “I saw Karlee and I knew it was the perfect ball, and I knew it was coming right towards me. I closed my eyes and it found the back post.”
“I think when the game played itself out, we were concerned with some of their speed,” Kentwood coach Aaron Radford said. “And that definitely showed itself there early on, but I think we played much better in the second half.”
Kentwood came out of the locker room with more energy and controlled much of the pace throughout the second half, as the young Conks team tried to stage a comeback.
Midfielder Hannah Bloomquist started a short barrage in the 60th minute, trying to bring her Kentwood team back into the game. But Emerald Ridge’s defense was having none of it.
Kentwood faced a wall in the forms of defenders Reilly Treat and Kaylee Baker, and the two Jaguars put a body on three of Kentwood’s four shots during that blitz, with Treat making a goal-saving clearance.
Right as Conk forward Naryia Hudson laced a low shot towards goal, Treat got a leg on the ball and made a clearance within inches of the goal line.
“These girls probably played the best soccer they’ve played all season long tonight,” Dan Stueckle said. “(Treat and Baker) are just rocks — just rocks back there for us.”
Federal Way 2, Stadium 1: The Eagles defense survived a late rush by the Tigers to pick up a first-round West Central District 3 win in the nightcap game at Sparks Stadium.
“I knew my girls had the fight in them (tonight),” an emotional Federal Way coach Lynde Clarke said.
The win sets up SPSL Northeast Federal Way (7-6-2) to face South co-league champions Puyallup (12-2-2) this Thursday at Curtis High.
“It will be a tough challenge. I’m glad the game isn’t here at Sparks, but instead at Curtis (High) on neutral ground,” Clarke said.
After Anjilia Sumandig’s goal (7th minute) gave the Eagles a halftime lead and Audrey Shin’s goal (58th) put Federal Way up 2-0, Stadium began to claw back.
The Tigers (8-7-1) put late pressure on the Eagles defense and they broke in the 65th minute when senior Kristi Williams cut the lead to 2-1.
Tahoma 1, Graham-Kapowsin 0: The Bears advanced in the District 3 playoffs on the lone goal scored by Brooke Asbury in the 42nd minute from a Mia Corbin assist.
The Bears are set to face Todd Beamer on Thursday at 8 p.m. at Curtis High School.
Auburn Riverside 4, Mount Tahoma 1: An onslaught of offense paved the way for a Ravens victory Tuesday.
Four different players scored a goal — Cierra Enlow, Taylor Smith, Izzy Creighton and Talia Samuelson.
The Ravens will take on Capital on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Sunset Chev Stadium.
Enumclaw 2, Hazen 1 (5-4 shootout): The Hornets won in dramatic fashion as regulation had to stretch all the way to penalty kicks.
As the match wound down to the winner-take-all stage, it was the Hornets taking the PK round, 5-4, to earn the right to keep playing for a berth in the state tournament. Mariah Bone scored a goal for Enumclaw in the seventh minute.
The Hornets will face rival Bonney Lake Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Sunset Chev Stadium.
Orting 2, Port Angeles 1: Shannon Dooley and Katie Harvey each scored goals to keep the Cardinals’ season alive.
Orting, with the win, advances to face Fife at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Bonney Lake High School in another loser-out match.