By Quint Turner
The undefeated and top-ranked Meadowdale Mavericks girls soccer team came back from being down a goal and a player in order to win the first game of the state tournament against the Bainbridge Spartans in penalty kicks.
After Natalie Vukic scored in the 26th minute, it took until the 53rd minute for Emily Crichlow to equalize the game at 1-1. Just 12 minutes later, Jasmine Parsley was given a straight red card for a late challenge on forward Rosie Kerstetter, and the Spartans had 25 minutes to score a goal,
including extra time, to put them in the state quarterfinals. However, great defense by the Maverick backline and some amazing saves by Ashley Routh got the game into penalty kicks, where the Mavericks shot a perfect 5-for-5 to win. The key penalty kick was the fourth one by the Spartans, when Vukic shot the ball wide to the left, and captain Roslyn Stapleton followed with a perfect shot in the bottom right corner to win the game.
The Spartans got a quick chance in the 1st minute when Kerstetter went on a give-and-go with Holly Furner, and Kerstetter found herself with the ball inside the MHS goal box. Her shot curled to the near post and Routh had to make a diving save to keep the tie. In the 6th minute, Amelia Easterbrook got a through ball into the box where Riley Gregoire got to the ball just before Routh did. Gregoire tried a one-time shot with Routh coming out, but it was straight to the diving Routh, and the score remained tied.
The Mavs got their first real chance in the 9th minute when Stapleton took a shot from 25 yards out that deflected off a Spartan defender and just wide of the left post, setting up a corner kick. The corner kick was taken by Stapleton, and she sent a curling cross into the box that almost went in the near post, but it was headed off the line and cleared.
Back the other way in the 12th minute, the Spartans earned a free kick 30 yards from the goal and Kerstetter took a shot that went on net, but it was saved by Routh. Nine minutes later, Kerstetter dribbled into the MHS box and dropped the ball back to Alison Snare. She sent a one timer to the bottom right corner, and Routh made a diving save to prevent the goal. The corner kick afterward was taken by Kerstetter and was headed wide by a Spartan.
Finally, the Spartans broke through in the 26th minute. A through ball from the Spartan midfield bounced high and into the box, and Snare caught up to the ball before Routh could get there. Snare tapped the ball over to Vukic just as she crashed into Routh, and Vukic easily buried the chance to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead. The entire play caught the Maverick line off-guard, and they were unable to catch up to the speedy forwards to prevent the goal.
The Spartans almost went up 2-0 in the 29th minute. Kerstetter earned a corner kick for the Spartans, and then she took the kick by sending a low cross into the box. Claire Marcum got a great opportunity for a header on net and sent it just over the crossbar.
The Mavs started to respond with chances of their own in the 32nd minute. They earned a free kick 30 yards out and Hannah Shouse took the kick. She attempted a shot, but it went straight to goalie Ali Blake. The first card of the game came in the 34th minute when Leah Mullholland held onto the jersey of Megan Zollars as Zollars tried to dribble past her. Mullholland was given a yellow card for the foul, but the Mavs were unable to use the free kick for any scoring chances. The half ended with the Spartans up 1-0 going into the second half.
The Mavericks came out hungry in the second half, searching for that second goal. In the 43rd minute, Erica Beaulieu got a through ball to Crichlow into the box. Crichlow attempted a low shot to the low left corner, but Blake got a hand on the ball and punched it to the other side of the box, where the defense cleared the ball. Alyssa Navlet sent a similar through ball to Crichlow that got her to the corner of the field, where she sent a cross through the box that went over the box and out. In the 51st minute, the Mavs earned a corner kick, and Stapleton tried a cross that bounced back to Kendall Raecker. Raecker attempted a shot, but it deflected straight to Blake.
Finally, the Mavs got the equalizer in the 53rd minute. An innocent throw-in by Taylor Monroe-Jones went straight to Crichlow in the BHS goal box. Crichlow made a quick spin move to get away from her defender, and sent a shot from inside the box that curled into the near left corner of the goal, past a diving Blake. The Mavs tried to use the momentum from the goal to go up 2-1, as they continued to pressure the Spartans.
In the 61st minute, the Mavs earned a corner, and Stapleton sent a cross that bounced back to Raecker. She tried a 35-yard shot that went on net, but straight to Blake. Four minutes later, Parsley tried to dislodge the ball from Celia Story after she had already passed it away, and Parsley made contact with the back of Story’s leg on her challenge. The referee gave her a straight red card, and the Mavericks were forced to play at least the last 15 minutes of regulation time with only 10 women. A minute after the foul, the ref also gave MHS coach Wade Foley a yellow card for arguing, and Bainbridge had all the momentum.
The Spartans pulled out all the stops in the last 15 minutes to get a go-ahead goal. Kerstetter dribbled into the corner of the field in the 72nd minute and sent a low cross into the MHS box. Routh came out and grabbed the ball out of the air to stop any scoring chances. Three minutes later, Sarah Berschinski had the ball land at her feet after a scrum just outside the MHS goal box, and she got a clean look at the net, but she sent the ball wide on her chance. The last chance for the Spartans came in the 79th minute, when they earned a free kick from 40 yards out. Deahna King sent a partial cross into the box that bounced just past Furner and Kerstetter and went out of bounds. The game would go to 10 minutes of extra time to decide a winner.
The Spartans, with their one-player advantage, had the only chances in the two halves of extra time. In the 5th minute of the first half, Faith Campbell got a cross to Snare in the box, and Snare tried a shot. The ball was deflected out of bounds by a Maverick defender, and the corner kick did not generate any chances. In the 2nd minute of the second half, Vukic passed to Campbell down the sidelines, and Campbell dribbled down the sidelines and into the goal box. Her shot attempt when in the box went straight to Routh, and she made the easy save. The game would be decided in a penalty kick shootout.
The Mavericks went first in the shootout, and sent Shouse out first. She stayed calm, and delivered a low shot straight into the bottom right corner past Blake to give the Mavs a 1-0 lead. Campbell stepped up for the Spartans, and she scored by putting it past a diving Routh in the bottom left corner to tie the shootout up. Navlet scored in the same spot as Shouse to put the Mavs up 2-1, but Kerstetter did the same thing as Campbell to keep pace.
Raecker was the first to diverge from the pattern, and she scored for the Mavs in the lower left corner. Next, Marcum came up for the Spartans, and scored in the bottom left corner as well to tie the shootout at three. Crichlow was the next to shoot for the Mavs, and she scored with a shot to the bottom right corner to put the Mavs up 4-3. Vukic was the fourth shooter for the Spartans. She attempted the same shot as the rest of the Spartans, but this time, the shot went wide, and it was up to Blake to keep the Spartans in it. Stapleton was the last one to go for the Mavs, and she buried her attempt in the lower right corner to win the shootout for Meadowdale by a score of 5-3.
With the loss, the Spartans’ season is over, as the state tournament is single elimination. The Mavericks advance to the quarterfinals, which will be played at Edmonds District Stadium Saturday at a time to be decided. They will play Columbia River High School in the match.
Sports correspondent Quint Turner is a student at Meadowdale High School.