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Olympic girls soccer reaches districts, again
For the third time in as many years, the Olympic girls soccer team is in position to secure a berth to the state playoffs.
The Lady Trojans (11-3-3) defeated Timberline 2-0 in a loser-out game Tuesday at Silverdale Stadium to advance to the Class 3A West Central District III/Southwest District IV Tournament, which begins tomorrow.
Anndrea O’Leary scored on a header in the 24th minute and Jalyn Halstead converted a free kick in the 57th as Olympic blanked the Blazers, who managed just two shots on goal.
“I think this game was a good stepping stone for the team,” O’Leary said. “We’ve played hard games, but I think we played with more composure this game and we’re realizing we’re actually a good team. So we’re actually going to play our hardest and say, ‘Hey, we have a chance in the playoffs.’”
Those chances will begin tomorrow when the Lady Trojans travel to Highline Stadium to face Lindbergh in a loser-out game. Lindbergh (11-4-2), the Seamount Conference No. 4 seed, lost to Enumclaw 2-0 Wednesday to set up the match.
Olympic coach Steve Haggerty, who attended the Enumclaw-Lindbergh game to scout both teams, was pleased with his team’s ability to create scoring opportunities against Timberline. But the longtime coach believes his squad needs to convert more of those chances if it’s going to make any noise in the postseason.
“As we move up in the playoffs, we’re going to face better teams,” he said. “The chances you create are going to be less, so you’ve got to finish the chances that you do create. And that’s something we’ve had trouble with all year.”
O’Leary’s goal came off a cross from Raelynn Masters, who blistered a left-footed, line-drive pass into the box. O’Leary was in position on the left side of the goal to head it into the corner of the net.
The goal, O’Leary said, gave the team early confidence, helping to minimize the pressure of a loser-out game.
“I think once we score right away we get more composure and we calm down and play our game,” she said. “In the beginning of the game we were kind of freaking out — it’s a playoff game — but after the goals, we played our game.”
Halstead, a stalwart defender who has anchored the back line to help goalkeeper Darrien Dorr to 13 shutouts in 17 games, cracked a free kick off a Timberline defender, deflecting the ball into the goal.
That put Olympic ahead 2-0, and Haggerty substituted frequently the rest of the way, preserving the two-goal cushion.
“Jalyn has been hitting her free kicks, so that’s been pretty nice,” Haggerty said. “We told her to drive it and she drove it. It hit off somebody, deflected and ended up in the back of the net. We’ll take it.”
Haggerty is confident in his defense, particularly Halstead and Dorr, so the team’s postseason success could hinge upon its ability to find the back of the net.
The Lady Trojans have yielded one goal over the past 12 games.
“She’s money, she never ceases to amaze me. She does a great job, she’s the heart and soul of our defense back there,” Haggerty said of Halstead. “Having a good defense and having a good goalkeeper is an asset as you go into postseason play. So hopefully we do well.”
Haggerty also was impressed with his team’s overall effort Tuesday, praising the work of Teresa Morell, Megan Smith and others.
For the team to move forward in the playoffs, it’s going to need more big-time efforts. A win over Lindbergh tomorrow would give Olympic a No. 6 seed to the state tournament and a potential matchup with undefeated Everett, the defending state champion.
“I don’t think we played as well as we are capable of playing, but we got a positive result,” Haggerty said. “In the playoffs, that’s all that counts.”