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Freshman scores one for the team — and for Dad

"Saturday morning, before his daughter left her Seabeck home for her soccer game, Jessica Hicks’ father made what might’ve seemed at the time like an outrageous request.“My dad told me if I could just score one goal, it’d make him so happy,” Hicks said.Even though it was just Jerry Hicks’ way of planting a positive image into his youngster’s head, it probably seemed like a tall order, especially in a game of the magnitude of Saturday’s. After all, Hicks — a freshman midfielder — had scored only one other goal in the Eagles’ previous 20 games during the 1999 season.But she not only granted Dad’s request, she went him one better. Hicks scored Klahowya’s first goal and assisted on the second — scored by another freshman, Nicole Zygmontowicz — in the Eagles’ 2-0 state Class 2A championship victory over Riverside.The Eagles’ scoring leader, sophomore Hilary Crisman, was shut out in the game (although her flick header to the middle after Zygmontowicz’ throw-in helped set up Hicks’ goal).But Hicks, serving as a metaphor of sorts for the whole Klahowya team, came alive in the game, providing the game-winning goal, not to mention some joy for Dad.“I told myself I’d step it up,” said a tearful Hicks, moments after the Eagles had traded gleeful high-fives with dozens of the Klahowya faithful who had poured out of the stands. “Everybody stepped it up. Everybody played so great.”She admitted that scoring a goal in the biggest game of her life probably wouldn’t have crossed her mind, had her father not planted it there.“He asked me if I could score a goal for him, and I said, ‘Yeah, right,’” said Hicks.But she got the chance, and made the most of it.“She’s been getting better every game,” said Klahowya coach Troy Oelschlager, who suited up seven freshmen for the postseason and used four — Zygmontowicz, Hicks, defender Britini Hintz and midfielder Melissa Emel — extensively. “She’s got a nice touch, and she was in the right places at the right times.”Throw-in gets a goal inFor the second time in two days, the Eagles exploited a set piece to score a game when Hicks finished off a play that started with Zygmontowicz’ long throw-in from the left wing.In Friday’s semifinals, Crisman banged in her second goal of the day after taking a short corner kick from Aimee Gray and running it in for a 20-yard shot that deflected off a defender and glided inside the near post.Saturday, the throw-in play nearly worked twice, again with Hicks taking the shot after Crisman’s flick header. This time, though, Riverside goalie Carlee Schluter was there to make the save.“We worked on that during the week,” said Crisman of the throw-in play. “And tonight, it worked just exactly like it was supposed to.”Tougher than the RamsJunior Jennifer Beall, who Oelschlager switched from midfield back to the sweeper position for the postseason, played her best game at the position, and perhaps her best game of the season. She had a huge slide tackle that turned away a Riverside attack up the middle five minutes after halftime, and worked in concert with senior Rachelle Rolle and freshman Britini Hintz to keep Larissa Mueller — the Rams’ most notorious player — at bay.“We knew they were used to roughing people up,” Beall said of Riverside, “but we weren’t going to back down.”That was never more evident than on one second-half play when Beall was battling Mueller and another Ram player for a high ball in front of the Klahowya goal. Rolle — all athletic 6-foot-2 of her — flew in in a desperate attempt to head the ball away. All four of them went down hard, with Beall at the bottom.She said later she hurt in so many places, she didn’t know what part of herself to hold.“It was my whole left side,” she said. “My face hurt, my shoulder hurt, my back hurt, my leg hurt ...”She was down for five minutes before wobbling off, but was able to return for the final few minutes.“There was no way I wasn’t going to be on the field for the last seven minutes of that game,” she said."

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