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Overtime goal sinks Jefferson
By CASEY OLSON
Their run to the Class 4A State Girls Soccer Championship will have to wait until next year.
The Thomas Jefferson Raiders lost a heart-breaker Wednesday night in the first round of the 16-team state tournament, ending their season. The Snohomish Panthers tallied a goal in the fourth minute of overtime to down the Raiders, 3-2, at Sumners Sunset Chev Stadium.
Snohomish freshman Melanie Bjornethun broke through the TJ defense late in the first of two five-minute, sudden-death overtime periods Wednesday and beat goalkeeper Liz Fitch with a low shot from 10 yards out with the game-winning goal. Bjornethun got a perfect pass off the head of Brittany Marshall into the goal box for her second goal of the night.
The win moves Snohomish (15-2-2) into the state quarterfinals, where they will take on the Tahoma Bears tonight. Tahoma upset South Puget Sound League champion Kentwood Wednesday night. It was the Bears first win over Kentwood in three chances this season.
The loss ends Jeffersons season with a 16-3-0 record after winning their first SPSL South Division championship since 2001. The appearance in the Class 4A State Tournament was the Raiders first since 1997.
In turn, Snohomish has been to the state tournament 13 times in the last 17 years, winning two state championships. Jefferson won the big-school title in 1989 and finished second in 1985.
The overtime goal by Snohomish ruined a valiant comeback by Jefferson. The Panthers jumped all over the Raiders and built a 2-0 lead in the first 27 minutes of play.
Bjornethun scored the games first goal in the 17th minute from close range on a pass from Ashley Mincks. Christie Olsen added Snohomishs second goal 10 minutes later.
But Jefferson junior forward Mel Hicks brought the Raiders back following Snohomishs second goal. Hicks rallied Jefferson with a pair of goals of her own, including her second with 39 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the match at 2-2 and force overtime. The two goals increased Hicks total on the season to 20 15 more than any other player on the TJ roster.
Hicks tallied nearly half of the Raiders goals during the year. In total, Jefferson scored 46 goals in 19 matches.
The Raiders controlled most of the possession time during the match, especially in the second half. The first-half action was fast and furious with two offensive-minded teams. The biggest difference during the first 27 minutes of play was the Panthers converted on their shots at goal and the Raiders didnt.
Things changed after the Panthers second goal. Jefferson came out and banged shot after shot at Snohomish goalkeeper Grace Lee, with Hicks getting two balls into the back of the net.
The future looks ultra-bright for the TJ girls soccer program. The Raiders will return all 11 starters from this years SPSL South championship team and lose only backup goalkeeper Ellen Yates to graduation.
Hicks and her 20 goals leads the list of returners. Also back will be sophomores Ashley Brough (five goals, two assists) and Sara Byrne (five goals, one assist), and juniors Brittany Creek (three goals, four assists) and Kelsey Racicot (three goals, two assists).
The Raiders also return a solid back defensive line with players like Brittany McKay, Kasie Casteneda, Kelsey Learned and Shannon Hilby, along with Fitch. On the year, the Jefferson defense allowed just 14 goals, but seven of those came in their final three matches.
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, email@example.com