Klahowya gets return trip to state

Forgive Troy Oelschlager if he gets a little nervous when his Klahowya girls soccer team scores early.

In one of the the Eagles’ two losses this season, to Eatonville, Klahowya scored in the third minute — before dropping a 4-1 Nisqually League decision.

On Thursday, Nov. 1, Klahowya got another early goal, from Hilary Crisman in the fifth minute. Then the Eagles waited almost the whole game before scoring again to cinch a 2-1 district playoff win over Foster High School on the Lakewood Stadium carpet.

“I like scoring early,” Oelschlager said Friday morning. “I’d just rather we scored early and often.”

Klahowya guaranteed itself a spot in its fourth straight state soccer tournament with the win. The Eagles were set to play a seeding game today, Nov. 3, against either Steilacoom or Eatonville.

The winner of that 4 p.m. game at Lakewood Stadium near Tacoma advances to the state tournament as the district’s No. 1 seed. The loser also advances to state, as the district’s second seed.

Klahowya jumped on top of Foster early in the first half. Oelschlager said Crisman knifed through the Bulldogs defense on a breakaway and beat Foster goalie Jennifer Lindgren to give Klahowya an early lead.

The lead was nice, Oelschlager said, but the Eagles reaction to it disturbed the coach.

“It seems like when we get that early goal, we get comfortable. We just relax too much,” Oelschlager said.

The Klahowya defense, led by Jessica Livick and goalkeeper Alisha Langdon, made Crisman’s goal stand up for the rest of the half before the speedy Foster club took advantage of a rare mistake in the second stanza.

Foster’s Sabrina Hozdic beat Langdon in the 57th minute to tie the game — and, perhaps, awake the Eagles from their brief slumber.

Klahowya put itself ahead with just seven minutes remaining in the game, with Crisman again playing a big role.

When the senior led an Eagle break down the right sideline, Foster turned its defensive attention to Crisman and her 102 career goals.

That left Britini Hintz open in the middle of the field. Crisman found her, and Hintz shot the ball off the far post and into the back of the net.

“We go as far as (Crisman) goes,” Oelschlager said. “For us to have a good game, she needs to have a good game.”

The Eagles knew they were in for a tight game against Foster. Although Klahowya dominated most of its Nisqually League opponents this year, the Eagles beat the Bulldogs just 1-0 during the regular season.

Klahowya boosted their season record against Foster to 2-0 despite playing less than its best game of the season.

“We didn’t play as well as we hoped,” Oelschlager said. “Luckily we had some good opportunities to score and we took advantage of them. We were lucky to get out of there.”

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