The Issaquah Eagles girls soccer team had waited more than 10 months for a rematch against the Woodinville Falcons.
Woodinville, who defeated Issaquah 3-1 in a winner-to-state, loser-out KingCo playoff game in November of 2016 denied the Eagles a berth in the Class 4A state tournament last season.
Issaquah avenged last year’s heartbreaking defeat, registering a convincing 8-1 win against Woodinville on Sept. 7 at Gary Moore Stadium in Issaquah. The Eagles improved their overall record to 2-0 with the victory. Issaquah head coach Tom Bunnell wasn’t surprised to see his team dominate its rival in the second game of the 2017 season.
“We were totally ready for the game. It was a lot for us to be excited about because last year they beat us twice and knocked us out (of playoffs),” Bunnell said. “It is such a great feeling to get a win against a really good team that will have an incredibly good season. They (Woodinville) are going to roll through the league I’m sure. It is just a great win.”
Issaquah senior forward Mariah Van Halm scored a game-high four goals in the win. Siarfo Abekah, Claudia Longo, Kate Wilkinson and Tori Wheeler each recorded a goal apiece as well. Van Halm credited her teammates for her epic performance.
“The whole team was just hyping me up. We had some great runs. It just happened tonight that I happened to be the open player but it really comes from everyone else just working,” Van Halm said.
Five different Eagles players scored goals against the Falcons. Issaquah consistently made the extra pass which resulted seven assists on eight of their goals scored. Abekah and Sean Eaton each had two assists apiece. Wilkinson, Van Halm and Jamie Kim each chipped in one assist as well. Van Halm said the Eagles roster is blessed with an abundance of depth at every position on the field.
“Other teams think they have us figured out and we just have another player who makes big plays. It is so nice. There is not one player that I don’t trust on this team,” Van Halm said. “We’re trying to take it one game at a time but we have big goals.”
Bunnell concurred with Van Halm’s assessment.
“The depth of our team is incredible. We had the starters off the field 20 minutes into the game and then the next group comes in like a line shift. There are so many focal points on our team that its hard for other teams to figure out who they are going to pay attention to,” Bunnell said. “They are all supporting each other, having a good time and are working hard. It is just a complete group and they are bonded together which in high school sports is so important. They are buying in and are a great soccer team. It is really fun to coach a team that executes what we’re trying to do.”