Sports

Beamer falls short of state title

By CASEY OLSON, The Mirror

It just wasn’t meant to be.

The Todd Beamer High School girls soccer team was so close to winning the 5-year-old school’s first state championship in any sport. But the powerful and unbeaten Eastlake Wolves just had a little bit too much when it counted and erased any chances of a fairy-tale ending for the Titans.

Eastlake’s Emma Levy scored 11 minutes into the second half Saturday night at Harry Lang Stadium in Lakewood to tie the game at 1-1 and the Falcons went on to force overtime and beat the Titans, 3-1, in a penalty-kick shootout to claim the Class 4A girls soccer state championship.

The victory completed a perfect 19-0 season by the Wolves from Sammamish and left Beamer players and fans stunned, but proud of a great run.

The Wolves, who came into Friday and Saturday’s state championship semifinal and final round ranked sixth in the nation, had not trailed all season until Friday’s semifinal, when they rallied to beat Richland in a shootout.

And Eastlake did the same thing to Beamer in Saturday’s state title match. Much like Friday, Eastlake came back from a one-goal deficit and beat Beamer (20-2-0) on penalty kicks.

Eastlake dominated a large portion of the first half, peppering Beamer goalkeeper Maia Kurnik with shots and keeping the ball in their end of the field for what seemed like the entire 40 minutes of play.

But it was South Puget Sound League South Division Co-Most Valuable Player Holland Crook who tallied the first goal of the match when she rolled through a pair of Eastlake defenders down the right sideline and hit a right-footed shot that inched its way inside the far post to give the Titans a 1-0 lead with just 17.9 seconds remaining in the first half.

The goal was the 19th of the season for the ultra-talented sophomore.

But the talented Eastlake squad didn’t panic after Crook’s goal.

And just 10:47 into the second half, sophomore midfielder Lindsay Elston’s perfectly placed corner kick found Levy inside the Beamer penalty box. Levy easily headed the ball past Kurnik to tie the game.

The final 30 minutes of play was fast and furious by both teams. But neither were able to convert on any chances. Eastlake came the closest in the closing seconds of regulation play when sophomore midfielder Allie Beahan twice had an open net when Kurnik couldn’t control a rebound directly in front of the Titan goal.

The score stayed deadlocked through a pair of five-minute overtime sessions, forcing the penalty kick ending.

Eastlake goalkeeper Megan Suter led off the shootout by diving to her right to stop a shot by Beamer senior Jordan Salisbury. But Kurnik followed with a spectacular diving save of her own against the Falcons’ Diana Pollock.

Eastlake’s Kari Nordvik and Cortney Pixler converted on their next two chances, while Suter turned back two of the next three Beamer attempts. Titan senior Nicole Peterson was the only Beamer player to convert during the shootout.

The three Suter saves set the stage for Eastlake’s Lindsay Elston, who found the back of the net with the game-winning goal.

The win gave Eastlake their second state championship in the last five years, but didn’t spoil the mood of the large contingent of Beamer fans in Lakewood. Immediately following the Elston goal, the Titan fans began a chant of “Let’s go Beamer” and every player huddled in front of the goal, consoling each other.

Beamer students were by far the most vocal supporting cast during the two-day tournament at Harry Lang Stadium. They wore shirts that said, “We Believe” and the 1980s Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin” was played on a makeshift ghetto blaster at halftime of the championship game and before the penalty-kick shootout.

But it just wasn’t meant to be.

“It was a good run,” Beamer head coach Carrie Hentschell said.

Beamer 1, Woodinville 0 (semifinal)

The Titans earned a berth in the championship game with a hard-fought 1-0 win over the defending Class 4A state champion, Woodinville, late Friday night at Harry Lang Stadium.

The only goal of the match came in the 47th minute and was a thing of beauty for any soccer player. That’s when senior midfielder and team leader Jordan Salisbury found the back of the net on a header from just in front of the goal.

Salisbury’s 11th goal of the season came after Megan Miller’s corner kick found Salisbury’s head inside the goalie box. Without any Woodinville defenders close by, Salisbury easily jumped up and headed the ball past the Falcon goalkeeper.

The score delighted the large Beamer contingent of fans who made the short drive down Interstate 5 to Lakewood. The Titans’ fan section was easily the biggest of the entire state tournament at Harry Lang Stadium and the large crowd of students wasn’t afraid to let everybody know it. Chants of “We can’t hear you” were commonplace coming from the Beamer faithful.

Salisbury’s goal was the highlight of the Titan offense during the win over Woodinville. But it was the unheralded play of the Beamer defense that preserved the victory.

The Titan defense was led by the play of Kurnik all night. The first-year starter in goal made a handful of gave-saving saves in the second half following Salisbury’s goal when the Falcons moved more players forward in an attempt to tie the score.

But nothing got by Kurnik and the rest of the Titan backline, which also included senior Nicole Peterson, Mackenzie Hickel and Jessica Niewoehner.

Friday night’s match began 90 minutes late because four of the five previous semifinal matches in the Class 2A, 3A and 4A brackets went into overtime and then shootouts.

The Titans dominated much of the first half of play against Woodinville, and got off 10 shots on the Falcon goal. But neither team managed a gaol in the first 40 minutes. That changed just seven minutes into the second half.

Woodinville’s best chance at a goal came in the second half when senior defender Michelle McCrillis hit a long free kick that sailed over the Beamer goal.

The Titans seem poised to make another run at the school’s first-ever team state championship next season. Not only does Holland Crook and her 19 goals return for Beamer, but so does junior Megan Miller and sophomores Kaylee Huie, Hickel and Niewoehner, along with freshmen Avery Salisbury and Tiarra Fentress.

But Hentchell and the rest of the Titan coaching staff will be without the services of an ultra-strong senior class that put Beamer soccer on the map since the school opened five years ago.

Gone will be Orr’s 15 goals and seven assists, Kurnik’s 15 shutouts in goal, Peterson’s leadership from the sweeper position, Jordan Salisbury’s 11 goals and Jordan Crook’s ability in the midfield.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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2007 Beamer girls soccer roster:

Maia Kurnik

Avery Salisbury

Sara Miller

Karli Hall

Jordan Crook

Sarah Petosa

Megan Miller

Brittany Orr

Jessica Niewoehner

Kaylee Huie

Katya Bixenman

Mackenzie Hickel

Jessica Sanchez

Holland Crook

Tiarra Fentress

Kelli Carlson

Jordan Salisbury

Nicole Peterson

Taylor Miller

Head coach: Carrie Hentschell

Assistant coaches: Adam Kulaas and Kevin Hall

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