"Eagles reign in the rain, win state title"

"Play 80 minutes of your best soccer, and you’ll win a lot of games.Play 160 minutes, on the most opportune of weekends, and you can win championships.The Klahowya Eagles served notice Saturday evening (Nov. 20) that they had learned well the lessons of this third season of their existence, capping a five-game postseason run by beating Riverside 2-0 in the championship game of the state Class 2A tournament at Federal Way Stadium.The previous day, by an identical 2-nil score, the Eagles had beaten Eatonville in a semifinal game that was, in many ways, their best effort of the season.Saturday, the bar was raised again, and Klahowya leapt over it with room to spare. And when the Eagles returned to earth from that final, soaring effort, they were the first team-sport champion in their school’s history.“We just played like there was no tomorrow, because there wasn’t,” said 6-foot-2 senior Rachelle Rolle, who gave herself the assignment of marking Riverside’s high-scoring, rough-housing senior forward Larissa Mueller. “I just told myself this was the last soccer game I’m ever going to play, and I’m leaving it all out there.”She wasn’t alone. The commitment from everyone on the field for the Eagles was one of grim resolve. The had watched the tough, physical Rams — from the hamlet of Chattaroy, north of Spokane — bully their way past Ephrata for a 1-0 semifinal victory Friday, after Klahowya had dispatched Eatonville 2-0.“We weren’t going to let them intimidate us,” said Rolle. “It was amazing how aggressive we were. We had 90-pound freshmen taking people down. We were slide tackling all over the place.”Sophomore Hilary Crisman, whose scoring acumen has weighed heavily in the Eagles’ transition from winless to wondrous, summed up the determination the third-year team brought with them out of the locker room.“We knew that win or lose, there was nothing else after this game,” she said. “We were going to give it everything. We felt like, by the end of the game, we should all be close to collapsing, if that’s what it took.”Crisman, who had four goals in the Eagles’ quarterfinal and semifinal wins, didn’t score in the championship game. But she drew plenty of attention from the Riverside defense, which often double-marked her and employed a deep defender to counter her breakaway speed.“Hilary had a great game, and she created a lot for other players, even though she was tightly marked,” said Klahowya coach Troy Oelschlager. “They were prepared for Hilary, but they weren’t prepared for the rest of our team.”Freshmen Jessica Hicks and Nicole Zygmontowicz scored Klahowya’s goals, and Zygmontowicz helped dominate the midfield to such a degree that the Eagles were able to outshoot Riverside by a 16-11 margin.But everywhere on the field, it seemed, an Eagle was making a crucial play, a necessary contribution. Every one of Oelschlager’s players, it seemed, picked Saturday to have her best game of the season.“Sometimes I’ll get frustrated if we have some bad touches, or if we don’t play aggressive,” Oelschlager said. “But there was nothing like that in this game. It was just so much fun to watch. You never knew what exciting thing was going to happen next, who was going to make the big play.”“It wasn’t just one person,” said Crisman. “It was everybody.”Four different Eagles touched the ball on Hicks’ first-half goal, starting with Zygmontowicz’ long throw-in from the right wing. It was flicked into the middle off Crisman’s head and slapped into space by Cowdin for Hicks, who skidded it past Riverside goalie Carlee Schluter for only her second goal of the season.Zgymontowicz buried the Rams in the 60th minute, collecting a pass from Hicks in the right side of the box, turning and blazing a 15-yard shot that grazed a defender and got between Schluter and the near post.The defense, meanwhile, committed to stopping Mueller and the rest of the Riverside attack at the other end. Their best chance, a 12-yard skidder by Anna Bowers 12 minutes into the second half, was saved brilliantly by Catharine Hoffman, who dove to her left to gobble the shot up and preserve what then was still a one-goal lead.“When Catharine made that save,” Oelschlager said, “I could begin to see something happening. That kept the momentum on our side.”"

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