Victory snatched from SK in state quarterfinal

Holding a 1-0 lead with nine minutes remaining, the South Kitsap High School girls’ soccer team could taste a berth into the 4A state semifinals Saturday night at Everett Memorial Stadium.

But Cascade’s Jessica Hughes nipped those tastebuds with a header goal just under nine minutes to tie the score 1-1 .

The Wolves, making back-to-back appearances in the state quarterfinals, were looking to make their first appearance in the semifinals.

Through the end of regulation and two five-minute overtimes, neither team broke down defensively. The draw forced the teams to decide a winner through a penalty kick shootout, in which Cascade prevailed, 5-4.

Wolves senior Emilee Ashby gave SK hope after scoring an impressive goal from 10 yards out on the left side two minutes into the second half.

Nearly 10 minutes later, junior Lauren Gehring almost gave SK an insurance goal but her point-blank shot in front of freshman goalkeeper Brittany Gegax sailed over the post.

Soon after Gehring’s attempt, SK went into a more defensive mode, which didn’t bode well with SK coach Eric Bergeson.

“Both teams fought hard, and credit Cascade with hanging in there and putting in a late goal,” Bergeson said. “But in the last 20 minutes we were just playing for the (1-0 win) by just booting the ball up the field. That’s not going to take up time nor is it going to put pressure on them.”

While Bergeson said the penalty shootout is a non-soccer way of determining a winner, he said his team was fortunate to be in that position.

“Without Emilee Ashby’s great play and great goal we’re not even in the shootout,” Bergeson. “Credit her for the fact we got the right to be in a shootout.”

In the shootout, Ashby had a chance to put SK up 1-0 after Cascade’s Shannon Baskett missed her shot over the crossbar. But Ashby’s kick hit under the crossbar and didn’t cross the goal line, keeping the game even.

Cascade made its next four goals but each were countered with SK goals from Sarah Burt, Cassie Brown, Samantha Godfrey and Karla Myles.

After five attempts, if both teams are still tied, it comes down to sudden death.

Cascade’s Stephanie Brencic converted her goal.

Up stepped SK sophomore Stephanie Mott.

Her shot was headed for the far left edge of the goal, but Gegax guessed correctly and got a hand on the ball to end SK’s season.

Bergeson said Ashby had no reason to hang her head.

“She’s taking it hard because she was the only one that missed (in the first five),” Bergeson said. “It’s tough because she makes those nine out of 10 times in practice.”

Bergeson said despite the loss, it was the most memorable season he’s coached in his six years of coaching.

“This was unforgettable,” he said. “Every girl did 1,000 things to get us here. It was a hard season and they worked their hearts outs. They did nothing but sacrifice every minute out there.”

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