With three appearances in the WIAA 3A State Girls Soccer Tournament over the past four years — including a state championship in 2014 — the seniors on the current Edmonds-Woodway Warriors squad have helped produced the most successful run in the sport the school has ever had. But that run ended for the five upperclassmen and the team Saturday as the Warriors fell to the Mercer Island Islanders 2-0 in a state quarterfinal match at Edmonds Stadium.
After speeding along with eight straight wins to get into the state tournament, Saturday’s loss put an abrupt end to the Warriors’ 2017 season. The team finished the year with a record of 13-4-3.
While tears were shed by some on the team immediately following the loss, Warriors Coach Bill LeCompte handed out hugs and compassion — and expressed the pride he felt in seniors Hannah Hicks, Molly Carden, Jazmine Nunez, Lexi Catton and Esther Jones.
“Super proud of our seniors,” LeCompte said. “They’ve done some amazing things in the four years that they’ve been here. I’m just extremely proud of who they are and watching them grow, helping us to get to this spot in the tournament.
“Each one of them is uniquely special for me, just because of the time they have invested in our program,” he continued. “I couldn’t be more proud to have them wear the crest and see what they can do.”
The end of the Warriors’ 2017 soccer season came only after standing toe-to-toe with a Mercer Island squad that has been beaten only once in 18 matches this season. But the Islanders proved to be the better team in Saturday’s contest as they scored twice in a 10-minute span of the second half.
In the 59th minute, Mercer Island’s Jessie Stenberg rolled a pass along the top of the 18-yard box from the right wing that ultimately found the foot of teammate Kendall Riley, who redirected the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal.
Then in the 69th minute, Stenberg again crossed a ball from the right side to a dashing Nicole Mandt, who blasted a shot from inside the 6-yard-box into the netting.
“I think we were pressing a little bit and we got a couple kids out of position, and it ended up opening holes,” LeCompte explained. “They did a great job of moving the ball down the side and then back inside and caught us.”
The coach took blame for Mercer Island’s second goal as it came directly after he had made a strategic substitution following the Islanders’ first score.
“The second goal, that’s totally off a coaching decision,” LeCompte said. “That’s on me because I pulled somebody off the back line that should have been there to help with that extra runner coming through.”
LeCompte had substituted defender Ingrid Fosberg in favor of forward Kyra Hicks to add a second striker to the offensive attack.
Up until the goals, E-W was able to hold back a Mercer Island offensive attack that had produced a number of goal-scoring opportunities. The Islanders took a total of 13 shots in the match and forced Warriors’ goalkeeper Hannah Hicks into making six saves.
In contrast, Edmonds-Woodway had difficulty putting much pressure on the Islanders’ defense. The Warriors’ best opportunities to score came during the second 40 minutes of the clash but failed to produce a goal.
“We had a little stretch in the second half when I thought we were doing really well and I thought it was starting to come,” LeCompte stated. “For whatever reason we just didn’t continue to grind at it. It just wasn’t our day.”
LeCompte recognized the level of competition that his squad reached this year playing in the 3A State quarterfinals.
“When you’re in the final eight, no night is going to be an easy night,” Lecompte concluded. “Tonight we were off a little bit and they played really well. Mercer Island is a good squad — one of the best teams we’ve seen all season — and we just weren’t able to make some things happen when we should have.”
Mercer Island will join two undefeated teams – Stadium and Kamiakin – in addition to the winner of the Bellevue-Seattle Prep match in the final four of the WIAA 3A State Girls Soccer Tournament on Nov. 17. To view the entire 3A State tourney bracket, click http://www.wescoathletics.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=2391&sport=11.
Prep Girls Soccer: Mercer Island at Edmonds-Woodway, Nov. 11 (WIAA 3A State Girls Soccer Tournament quarterfinal match)
Mercer Island 0 2 — 2
Edmonds-Woodway 0 0 — 0
Kendall Riley (Mercer Island), assisted by Jessie Stenberg, in the 59th minute
Nicole Mandt (Mercer Island), assisted by Jessie Stenberg, in the 69th minute
Hannah Hicks (Edmonds-Woodway) — 6
Amy Braman (Mercer Island) — 3
Edmonds-Woodway — 2
Mercer Island — 6
Records: Edmonds-Woodway 13-4-3 overall; Mercer Island 14-1-3 overall
–By Doug Petrowski