SILVERDALE — The Eagles were hoping to make it back to the 1A state quarterfinals for the third consecutive year, but on their home field against Lynden Christian on Tuesday, it simply wasn’t their night.
Klahowya (11-4-2) had four different scoring chances hit the woodwork while the Lyncs scored on a fluke goal in the last ten minutes to snag a 1-0 victory and advance to the next round.
The loss marks the program’s earliest exit from the state playoffs since 2016 when they lost 3-0 to Overlake in the first round.
“It’s unfortunate for our seniors because they’ve been great,” said Klahowya head coach Troy Oelschlager. “They’re a fun group.”
The two-time state champions had a number of chances early on, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Alyssa Peters hit crossbar twice in under a minute during a sequence that saw the ball bounce around like a pinball near the top of the 18-yard box. Hope Martin also hit the post in the first half, getting her head on a corner kick.
“We really needed that goal,” Peters said.
Lynden Christian picked up its intensity as the match wore on. With a deep bench, the Northwest Conference team was able to sub players in and out with ease. This was in stark contrast to Klahowya, which had just a few players on its bench.
The Lyncs also took the opportunity to keep two players on Peters, forcing the ball away from Klahowya’s star midfielder.
“They kept two on her the whole time,” Oelschlager said. “She was getting frustrated, I was trying to move her forward to get her more space, but we weren’t able to get her the ball enough. And we lost control of the middle because we didn’t have her in the middle.”
As the clock wound down, the match seemed destined for overtime. But a Lynden Christian shot in the 72nd minute deflected up high in the air and went over the keeper’s head and into the net. The Eagles pressed forward to get an equalizer, but the Lyncs successfully clogged up the middle of the field and time ran out.
“They have some good size, they were all very strong and they marked us really well in the middle,” Peters said. “That’s where we succeed — through the middle.”
The loss marks the end of the careers for several players who formed the core of this year’s team, including Peters, who will continue her career at the University of Idaho; forward/defender Hope Martin, defender Hope Swenland, Tyler Townsend, Katelyn Daykin and Shae Stevens.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.