KENNEWICK -- Both teams were already locked into the 3A state tournament when Kamiakin and Southridge met Saturday for the regional title at Southridge High School.
Even though both teams had little to lose, however, both sides played like their playoff lives depended on it.
In the end, the Suns pulled out a 3-1 shootout win after a 1-1 tie in regulation, giving Southridge its first regional championship. It was a typical Suns-Braves battle, meaning nothing came easy for either team.
"We dodged a couple bullets," Southridge coach Greg Sambrano said. "Kamiakin came out much stronger than us in the first half. So we moved Katherine (Tsoukalas) back to midfield in the second half, and that helped us."
The Suns (18-0) will open their second consecutive trip to the 3A state tournament at home against Eastside Catholic (10-6-5) at 6 p.m. Tuesday, while Kamiakin (14-5) play its first-round match against Mount Spokane (14-6) at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Lampson Stadium.
"We worked our butts off every day in practice for this," said Southridge defender Randi Andreatta, who assisted on Heather Johnson's game-tying goal in the 65th minute.
The Braves picked up a quick goal in the 11th minute when Ellie Heiden took a pass from Kyra Brannan and scored her 20th goal of the year to put Kamiakin up 1-0.
"Once again, we were giving away too much space, especially to someone like Ellie," said Sambrano, who was named CBBN 3A coach of the year this week.
Kamiakin had a few chances to push its lead to 2-0 in the second half. Kristyn Bohlander pulled the trigger from outside the 18-yard box only to find the crossbar both times.
In the 55th minute, Heiden ran onto a long boot from midfield and dribbled in for a breakaway opportunity against Southridge goalkeeper Ingrid Stein. From just inside the 18, Heiden drilled a low shot toward the left corner, but Stein came out to cut the angle and tipped away the shot.
"I thought we outplayed them," said Braves coach Chris Erikson, who watched her team fall to 0-3 against the Suns this year. "I have confidence in this team. The're warriors."
Southridge tied the score with just 15 minutes remaining in regulation. Andreatta served up a high-arcing corner kick right in front of the net, and Johnson outleaped a crowd to head it past Braves keeper Sydnee Grant.
"You don't expect to get a goal on every corner kick, especially on the first one of the day," said Johnson of her 31st goal of the season and 101st of her career. "It was a great job by both teams today."
Both the Braves and Suns had chances to win in overtime. Johnson bent a free kick from 25 yards around a four-player wall and off the back post in the first overtime and, a minute later, nearly converted another corner kick header from Andreatta.
Stein came up big in the second overtime, too, tipping a long shot by Chandra Stevenson off the crossbar in the 88th minute. If that wasn't enough, Stein also clinched the shootout win by stopping Macy Brannan's fourth-round shot.
Stein missed the first half of the regular season because of an injury and recorded a 1.58 goals-against average in nine games. But after recording her first shutout of the season, Stein appears to have returned to the top form that made her an all-CBBN 3A keeper in 2010.
"Ingrid came up with some big saves," Sambrano said, also singling out midfielder Shelby Zimmerman and defenders Erin Wallace and Megan Sanders. "The whole defense did well. Kamiakin is really fast. To hold them to one goal is impressive."
Scoring--1, K, Ellie Heiden (Kyra Brannan), 6:00; 2, S, Heather Johnson (Randi Andreatta), 65:00. Shootout goals (Southridge 3-1)--K, Megan Young. S, Erin Wallace, Emma Sanders, Johnson. Shots--K 14, S 17. Saves--K, Sydnee Grant 7. S, Ingrid Stein 7.
Mead 1, Richland 0
Kara Marbury received a pass from Madeline Aldrich in the 11th minute and scored the game's only goal, lifting Mead past Richland to earn the No. 2 seed to the 4A state tournament beginning Tuesday.
The Panthers' win completed a Greater Spokane League sweep of CBBN teams, as Gonzaga Prep also beat Davis to grab the top seed and Central Valley beat Moses Lake for the No. 3.
The Panthers outshot the Bombers 13-6. Richland goalkeeper Shelby Long stopped 11 shots.
Scoring--1, M, Kara Marbury (Madeline Aldrich), 11:00. Shots--M 13, R 6. Saves--M, Taylor Gail 6. R, Shelby Long 11.
Central Valley 1, Moses Lake 0
Paige Ellingson scored in the 14th minute off an assist from Savannah Hoekstra to lift Central Valley past CBBN district champion Moses Lake to earn the No. 3 seed to the 4A state tournament.
The Chiefs outshot the Wildcats 11-10 but couldn't make any opportunities stick. Moses Lake goalkeeper Heidi Palmer made 10 saves.
Scoring--1, CV, Paige Ellingson (Savannah Hoekstra), 14:00 .Shots--CV 10, ML 11. Saves--CV, Jessie Kunz-Pfeiffer 8. ML, Heidi Palmer 10.
Prosser 6, West Valley (Spokane) 4
Madison Moore scored in the 17th minute on an assist from Helen Petersen and goalkeeper Jamie White had two saves on the day as Prosser edged West Valley of Spokane in a Class 2A regional tournament loser-out game that decided the No. 4 seed to state.
"Helen Petersen did an outstanding job keeping us in the game," Mustangs coach Marcelino Rodriguez said.
Scoring--1, P, Madison Moore (Helen Petersen) 17:00; 2, P, Makensie Forsyth 20:00; 3, P, Jazmine Ramos 22:00; 4, P, Kaitlyn Maddox 31:00; 5, WV, Bethany Jenkins 35:00; 6, WV, Shelby Schafer 38:00; 7, P, Forsyth 53:00; 8, WV, Courtney Hossfeld 56:00; 9, WV, Schafer 61:00; 10, P, Maddox 26:00.Shots--WV 6, P 8. Saves--WV, Kat Knorr 6. P, Jamie White 2.