A second-half rally came too little, too late from the Klahowya Eagles in their quest to repeat as state champions as a Seattle Academy goal in the 69th minute gave the Cardinals a 2-1 win in the title match Nov. 18 at Mount Tahoma High School.
It’s the first time the Eagles have had to settle for the runner-up spot after winning their last three championship appearances. It’s also the second time in three seasons championship runs have been cut short by the Cardinals, as Klahowya fell 3-2 in overtime in a 2021 semifinal thriller to the all too familiar foe.
“They absolutely deserve it,” Eagles coach Troy Oelschlager said of the Cardinals. “They play a different system than we’re used to seeing, so we had to make some adjustments for that. We just didn’t play our best soccer in the first half.”
In a year where the Eagles had become accustomed to controlling the pace of play, they found themselves seemingly lost in the match’s first 40 minutes. An offense that had entered state averaging nearly five goals per match was nonexistent and even hesitant to pursue the ball at times, leaving Seattle Academy with plenty of chances to control the match.
Oelschlager said he could tell his team was off its game but was unsure why. “There are no excuses, and they didn’t overwhelm us with any amazing level of offense. We just didn’t play good soccer for the first minutes,” he said.
The Cardinals drew first blood in the 17th minute on a penalty score from Isla McNae.
For the first 20 minutes of the second half, they were back, sending shot after shot toward the Cardinal net. Freshman Addyson Dickey finally ended the Eagle scoring drought on a free kick just outside the box after a Cardinal foul. The ball found the corner of the net, knotting the match at 1-1.
“I thought that we had turned the tide,” Oelschlager said, seeing his team with renewed confidence.
But that was all she wrote for the Eagles as they reverted back to first-half form just as quickly as they had broken out of it. It would cost them the match after senior Sydney Lennard made the final kick on a pinballing ball off another free kick around the Klahowya goal.