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State soccer: Southridge outlasts Decatur in 3A quarterfinals, 3-2
The ride is over for the Decatur girls soccer team.
The Southridge Suns (16-4-0) got a goal early in the second half to break a 2-2 tie with the Gators and held on to advance into the Class 3A semifinals with a 3-2 win over the Gators Saturday night at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.
The Suns, from Kennewick, will take on Seattle Prep Friday at Harry E. Lang Stadium in Lakewood.
The loss ended an eventful postseason ride for the Gators, who had to win three-straight, loser-out matches to reach Saturday's state quarterfinal match, including a mid-week trip to Spokane.
Decatur (12-6-1) downed Peninsula, 2-1, in a Seamount/SPSL 3A sub-district game on Nov. 3 after falling behind 1-0, and then dominated Wilson, 2-0, at the West Central District Tournament to earn the school's 11th trip into the state playoffs and first in Class 3A.
Decatur then downed Mount Spokane Tuesday night, 2-0, at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane in the opening round of the 16-team Class 3A State Girls Soccer Tournament. The win over Mount Spokane not only earned the Gators a berth into the state quarterfinals, but also the home match against Southridge at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.
But it wasn't meant to be Saturday, despite a big-time comeback by Decatur. Southridge's Heather Johnson scored twice in the first 24 minutes to give the Suns a commanding 2-0 lead in the first half.
The Gators, however, tallied a pair of goals in a four-minute span late in the first half to tie the game. Senior Ellie Franco got the first goal for Decatur in the 34th minute and junior Abby McFaul headed in the game-tying goal in the 38th minute.
McFaul also had a chance later in the first half when she broke away from the Southridge defense and was one-on-one with the goalkeeper. But McFaul's shot sailed right into Ingrid Stein's hands.
A bulk of the second half was controlled by Southridge. Freshman Michelle Foster tallied the game winner six minutes into the second half on a centering pass from Hanni Sanders.
The Gators' best chance at tying the game came with just over three minutes remaining. That's when senior Decatur defender Jennifer Kanesta sent a perfect, left-footed corner kick in front of the Southridge goal, but McFaul's perfectly-timed header bounced off the top post.