Kennedy Lancers fall to Central Valley despite strong second half surge
BY GERARDO BOLONG
PUYALLUP - Kennedy Cathlolic mounted a strong second half surge before falling to unbeaten Central Valley, 1-0, in a semifinal match up of the WIAA Class 4A state girls soccer tournament held on Fri., Nov. 17, on the pitch of Sparks Stadium.
Despite firing away with its entire armament in the final minutes of regulation, the Lancers were unable to light up a score against an outstanding Bears goalkeeper and defense.
Central Valley opened with a powerful and continuous all-around attack mixed with a solid rock defense. Pushing up from the backline and midfield, the Bears kept the stout Lancer defense busy while trying to break through on the scoreboard.
A CV shot in the 13th minute struck the crossbar, but the Bears finally notched the go-ahead goal when forward Kaelyn Barnes slotted a 14-yard shot from the right side into the net after receiving a clean pass from a streaking Kailyn LaBrosse. Barnes was able to set up for the strong shot that reached the top corner of the goal in the 21st minute.
Labrosse was regularly creating chances for the well-versed Bear offense.
By the middle of the first half, Kennedy Catholic had settled in to fight Central Valley more evenly, creating a few opportunities to score against the formidable opposition. Even at this point, chances to score were difficult to create.
The Lancers initiated the second half action with early offensive thrusts that became more numerous as the match wore on. On their part, the Bears still exerted offensive pressure, but relied more on their stalwart defense to thwart the aggressive KC offense which outshot the Bears 7-0 in the second half after Central owned a 5-4 edge in the first half.
"We started winning the 50-50 balls," said KC head coach Michelle Beattie. "Good spacing and one touches with a sense of urgency in the small battle improved the attacks. The combining was better and our five seniors, four on defense (keeper Jaclyn Seifert, Lauren Shoemaker, Kalina Cordero, Claire Varden) and one forward (Bailey Hall) led us."
Charging contentiously, Kennedy Catholic played through long balls to test CV goal keeper AJ Crooks with an occasional volley, but Crooks ( 8 saves) and the back four kept muscling KC players off the ball and clearing through balls, deflecting action into the midfield. The Lancers kept struggling to find the cracks in the Central Valley organized and aggressive defensive formations.
As the second half minutes drained away, Hall joined her teammates on the front line in executing good passing sequences.
Despite solid strafing runs and bombarding with every thing they had at the Bears in a 7-0 second half shot advantage, the Lancers were unable to score, keeping the Bears on defense to the very end.