It wasn’t an ideal start, but Skyline isn’t complaining about the end result of Tuesday night’s KingCo 4A championship.
The Spartans rallied from a deficit in the first minute to beat Woodinville 2-1 and claim the program’s second league championship. The first came in 2005 — also the last season Skyline participated at the 4A classification.
“It’s incredible,” said junior goalkeeper Jill Stika. “I never expected it at the beginning of the season, but we came together and meshed together as a team. It was definitely an all-team effort.”
Woodinville put a scare into Skyline early. Just 45 seconds into the game, Heather Thomas took a direct penalty kick from the 25-yard line. The ball zipped into the upper left corner, past the outstretched arms of Stika.
Skyline responded quickly, however, knotting the score in the third minute. Sophomore Alisha Connors took a drop from sophomore Madi Barney and lobbed the ball over the head of Falcon goalkeeper Leslie Greer.
“If you’d told me before the game that we’d score three minutes in, I’d say ‘Sweet’ but probably would be in complete disbelief that we’d be tying the game up like that,” Skyline head coach Don Braman said.
Barney, who was named to the KingCo 4A first-team prior to the game, put the Spartans up for good in the 16th minute. Taking a corner kick from Anna Morgan, she drilled the ball into the net with a header.
“It was a perfect ball,” Barney said. “Last practice, we practiced corners like the whole practice.”
Skyline’s defense clamped down the remainder of the game. Stika, who was also named the all-league first-team, had four of her six saves in the second half. Braman also credited his defense with a solid effort, including the play of Mindy Nation, Brittanee Randle and Kayla Shim.
Skyline improved to 11-2-2 overall. The Spartans will enter the state tournament as the No. 1 seed from District 2 and have the potential to host through the quarterfinals.
“It feels amazing, I love it,” Barney said. “We earned it.”
Wolves earn redemption
Eastlake earned a little redemption and home field advantage Tuesday night, beating Issaquah 4-0 in the KingCo 4A third-fourth place game.
“We had a loss to them earlier this season and it felt really good to just come out and prove ourselves and say ‘We are still here and we’re looking to get another state championship,’” said junior Emily Hurd, referring to Eastlake’s 1-0 loss to Issaquah on Oct. 14.
Hurd, who was named the KingCo 4A player of the year prior to the game, played a key role in the win. Working from roughly 18 yards out, on the left sideline, the forward broke a scoreless tie in the 17th minute. Hurd blasted the ball with her left foot toward the goal. Issaquah goalkeeper Nicole Eddings appeared to playing away from the net, looking for a pass — and so was Hurd.
“I was looking to cross it and it just came off my foot weird,” Hurd said. “It kind of bent in. It was an accident, I wasn’t looking to shoot. I was looking to cross, but it worked.”
The ball zipped to the left of Eddings, into the net, for a league-best 17th goal.
Hurd struck seven minutes later, bending a ball from outside the left goal post back to the net. Eddings got a hand on it, but Eastlake’s Emma Levy was there to knock in the rebound for the score. Levy tacked on another goal in the 26th minute, scoring on a cross from Lindsay Elston. Kory Spotts added an unassisted goal in the 45th minute. The Wolves, who improved to 14-2 overall, outshot the Eagles 17-10 for the game. The victory gave Eastlake a significant home-field advantage. They will host either Skyview or Heritage at 2 p.m., Nov. 8. Issaquah will have to travel to face Skyview or Heritage on Nov. 8. Those teams played for the GSHL title last night after deadline. The winners of Saturday’s bi-district games move on to the state tournament, the losers are done for the season.