PUYALLUP – To get one step away from the mountaintop and not take that final step stung — again.
For the second season in a row, the Issaquah High School girls soccer team couldn’t complete the journey on a Cinderella run. For Tracy Pang, the hurt was deep, but the Eagles’ senior defender will look back fondly on the experience.
At the moment, however, Issaquah must deal with pain and second-guessing after a tough 3-2 penalty-kick shootout loss to fourth-ranked Central Valley in the Class 4A state-championship match on Saturday at Sparks Stadium. The Eagles led 2-1 in the 79th minute, but that’s when Central Valley equalized and sent the game into overtime.
The Eagles lost to KingCo 4A rival Skyline 1-0 in last year’s 4A final, but beat the Spartans 2-1 in penalty kicks this year in the state quarterfinals. Pang, for one, figured the script would have a different ending.
“Last year, we came so close and this year we really thought this would be our year,” said Pang, who played all 90 minutes of the final and saw her soccer career close out. “It’s definitely last year all over again, and it hurts that much more, but (Central Valley) played well. They definitely came out hard.
“I guess it was just their day, and not ours.”
The Eagles (15-5-1), who led 2-1 before the Bears tied the match in the 79th minute, just missed out wrapping up their fourth state title in girls soccer, and their first in 4A.
“The fact we got here, I think, was a huge accomplishment,” Pang said. “These are some of the happiest times of my life so far.”
Issaquah senior forward Julianna DaCruz raced behind the Central Valley defense and put away an 11-yard shot, just to the left of Bears goalkeeper Jessie Kunz-Pfeiffer, in the 71st minute to give the Eagles a 2-1 edge.
But Hailey Spooner tapped in an open-net goal in the 79th minute for CV to knot the match at 2-2. Savannah Hoekstra headed the ball over Issaquah goalkeeper Anna Miller to Spooner, who delivered at point-blank range.
In the overtime both teams traded close calls, then Issaquah then missed two of its first penalty kicks and couldn’t recover. When Bears goalkeeper Kunz-Pfeiffer made her third diving save in the fifth round of shots, it closed out the Eagles.
“It’s extremely frustrating and very disappointing,” Issaquah coach Tom Bunnell said. “I think, defensively, a breakdown late in the game is tough. It’s a great run and Central Valley was great tonight in the second half.”
Junior forward Devan Talley opened the scoring in the 16th minute, bouncing in a 14-yard shot off a pass from Rachel Wheeler.
The Bears (18-1-1) struck back in the 49th minute on a nice back-and-forth breakaway from Hoekstra and Madison Kinsolving. Hoekstra buried her left-footed chance into the right side of the net after a pass from Kinsolving to tie the match at 1-1.
Issaquah dominated the run of play in the first half, outshooting Central Valley 8-1 with five shots on frame.
Olympia 1, Mead (Spokane) 0 (3-0 PKs)
Sophomore goalkeeper Sophie Kabel made three saves in the overtime shootout as the Bears (16-4-2) won the third-place match and secured their highest placing since taking second in 1995 in 3A.
Mead (17-5-1) suffered a pair of penalty-kick shootout losses to end its season.
Kabel earned her 17th shutout of the season.