SOCCER: Decatur continues roll into state tournament; Beamer will take on Issaquah in opening round

For the second playoff game in a row, the Decatur Gators avenged an early-season shutout. The Gators (10-7-0) beat Capital Saturday, 3-2, in a shootout to qualify for the Class 3A State Girls Soccer Tournament.

The win came after Capital, the champions of the Narrows League, dominated Decatur, 3-0, during a non-league game earlier in the regular season. Last week, the Gators beat Kennedy Catholic in a loser-out game. Kennedy downed Decatur, 6-0, in both teams' season opener in September.

"This team has faced many obstacles this season and they have continued to battle despite them all," said head coach Christy Overby. "It would have been easy for them to pack things up and call it quits after the first few weeks, but they haven't. They keep fighting every week."

Decatur and Capital played to a 2-2 tie during the 80-minute regulation and 10-minute overtime session, necessitating the shootout. The Gators' goalkeeper, Ericka Budinich, came up big during the penalty-kick shootout. Senior Ashley Graves tallied both of Decatur's goals during regulation in the 10th and 66th minutes.

The win over Capital sets up a first-round matchup with Everett at 7:30 p.m. at Federal Way Memorial Stadium on Wednesday, Nov. 9, in the Class 3A tournament. Everett (17-1-1) lost its first game of the season Thursday in the District 1 Championship game to Meadowdale, 2-0.

The Gators have turned their season around since starting the year 0-3-0, winning eight of their last 10 games.

"To be honest there is no simple answer (to the better play)," Overby said. "The girls are the key and getting healthy, of course, helps a great deal. But we have battled with getting healthier than losing a player again so the key is again truly in the hearts of the players. The core of this team continues to battle."


Beamer 1, Curtis 0

The Titans stuck fast and made it stand Saturday during their victory at Art Crate Stadium in Graham. Beamer senior Breanna Straus tallied the only goal of the game just one minute in against the Curtis Vikings in the winner-to-state, loser-out West Central/Southwest District Tournament.

The victory earns the Titans (14-1-3) a matchup against the Issaquah Eagles in the opening round of the Class 4A State Girls Soccer Tournament. Beamer will host Issaquah at 5:30 p.m. at Federal Way Memorial Stadium on Wednesday, Nov. 9. Issaquah (9-5-2) finished second in the KingCo Conference, losing to Skyline in the league's championship game, 2-1, in overtime.

Saturday's win over Curtis was Beamer's second of the season over the Vikings and Straus' goal was her fifth of the season. Junior Jenny Hoefel leads the Titans with 16 and Jasmine Brilliante chipped in 11.

The shutout was Beamer goalkeeper Meghan Graf's 12th of the season.


Bellarmine Prep 4, Jefferson 3

The Raiders' (7-8-3) impressive late-season push to get into the playoffs ended Saturday at the Stadium Bowl. The Lions (14-2-1) outlasted Thomas Jefferson in a entertaining and controversial West Central/Southwest District winner-to-state, loser-out contest.

With Bellarmine leading 4-3 with just over a minute left to play in regulation, it looked like TJ senior Lindsey Dahl had tied the game up with her third goal of the day. But the referee ruled that Dahl pushed off against a Bellarmine defender before scoring, much to the chagrin of the TJ coaching staff, fans and players.

Bellarmine, the champions of the Narrows League, jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first seven minutes of the contest. But TJ came back thanks to the two goals from Dahl and another one from freshman Chentay Warnes to pull within one goal of sending the game to overtime.

The loss ends TJ's season after finishing fifth in the SPSL North Division.  The Raiders needed to win their final game of the regular season to even qualify for the postseason.

It also ends the brilliant career of Dahl. The two goals Saturday was Dahl's ninth multi-goal game of the season. The senior had a grand total of 28 goals in Jefferson's 18 matches this year and 48 in the last two years.

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