PUYALLUP — Central Kitsap had already made program history when they advanced to the Class 3A state semifinals.
Facing a Lake Washington team that is ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in most polls, the Cougars also became the first team in over a calendar year to score two goals on the Kangaroos.
Unfortunately, the breaks of the game didn’t go Central Kitsap’s way as Lake Washington prevailed 5-2 to advance to the championship game. Central Kitsap will play Lakeside at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Sparks Stadium.
Two critical decisions went in favor of the Kangaroos and led directly to two goals.
Down 1-0 early in the second half, Ailin Zhang sent a ball forward to Paris Agana, who buried a shot to tie the match at one. It was Agana’s fourth goal of the postseason and it left Lake Washington stunned.
But not even a minute later, Central Kitsap was whistled for a foul in the penalty area, a decision with which many Central Kitsap partisans strongly disagreed. It was certainly a tough decision in such an important match. But Alex Mueller converted the penalty kick and the Kangaroos were back on top.
“It takes the wind out of your sails,” said Central Kitsap head coach Keith Sargent.
In the 58th minute, defender Ella Smith was shoved to the ground during a battle for a loose ball. Play went on and Lake Washington scored to open up a 3-1 lead.
The Cougars cut the deficit to one with two minutes to go when Marielle Arnold sent a spectacular pass ahead for Madilynn Wood who hit the back of the net.
Unfortunately, as they pressed forward to try for the equalizer, Lake Washington was able to take advantage of the extra space and pad their lead. Anna Schwisow iced the game in the 79th minute after flagging down a goal kick and unleashing a strong shot from close range. Kylie Jones added her second of the game a minute later.
“It’s obviously tough to lose, but I really couldn’t be prouder of my team making it this far,” Arnold said.
Central Kitsap had other chances as well, most notably an early free kick by Delaney Homewood that looked like it was headed for the back of the net, but ended up bouncing off the crossbar.
The Cougars still have a chance to finish third with an early morning wake up call against Lakeside. No matter the result, it will be the best finish in program history, but don’t be surprised if the team comes out with revenge on its mind.
“I think we’ll come ready to play,” Arnold said.
Lake Washington 5, Central Kitsap 2
CK 0 2 — 2
LW 1 4 — 5
First half — LW, Kylie Jones (Savannah Walenczak), 33rd.
Second half — CK, Paris Agana (Ailin Zhang), 43rd; LW, Alex Mueller (penalty kick), 44th; LW, Jen Estes (Ari Issa), 58th; CK, Madilynn Wood (Marielle Arnold), 78th; LW, Anna Schwisow, 79th; LW, Jones (Walenczak), 80th.