With as tight as playoff soccer games tend to be, wild things can happen, and good teams can get upset and sent home early.
So the undefeated Kamiakin High School soccer team decided it would take the lead early on Tuesday night at Lampson Stadium. Really early.
Maddie Morgan fired a cross into the penalty box on the game’s first possession, and Britney Donais drove the ball home less than 30 seconds after kickoff, setting the pace for the Braves’ 4-1 win over the Mountain View Thunder in the opening round of the state playoffs.
“I feel like when we get one right off the bat, it’s really an energizer for us to keep going,” said Donais, a junior forward who found the net again in the second half to lead the Braves offensively.
Kamiakin (18-0) will host Lakeside of Seattle (12-5-2) — which beat Mt. Spokane 1-0 on Tuesday — at 2 p.m. Saturday in the state quarterfinals.
It’s the first state victory for Kamiakin since 2013, when it was the Class 3A runner-up. The Braves are trying to become the fifth straight Kennewick team to reach the state championship game after Southridge took second the past three years.
“This is a pretty big deal,” Kamiakin coach Chris Erikson said. “They’re a pretty savvy team though, they have a lot of experience ... but, yes, they’re excited about being at state.”
Morgan made it 2-0 in the 10th minute off a cross from Izzy Conover. Mountain View (11-4-3) got on the board 6 minutes later when Olivia Fothergill received a long ball in the box with the defenders some 10 yards behind her — though the officials ruled she stayed onside before the pass — and beat keeper Grace Wilbur to score the first goal against the Braves in their past seven games.
Wilbur said losing the shutout streak was “a little bit” disappointing, “but we’re still going, and I’m so proud of my team.”
The Braves kept the pressure up after halftime, with goals by Kaeri Ward in the 43rd and Donais’ second of the night in the 58th. Wilbur kept the three-goal advantage intact by making a diving stop to her right on a laserbeam of a PK attempt by Mountain View’s Emma Cox in second-half stoppage time.
“She definitely hit it well, but I was just ready to go,” Wilbur said. “I was focused and I wasn’t gonna let it happen. I have a team to carry, and they carry me as well. They score the goals, but I have to back them up.”
Despite surrendering four goals, Thunder senior keeper Jessie Selby played a stellar game, as she unofficially faced 18 shots from Kamiakin, while Mountain View mustered just five.
“I think the kids were really receptive to hearing things at halftime, because I said ‘you’re not going to score in the air on this keeper,’ ” Erikson said. “She was a great keeper, very athletic. I think all four of our goals were low, and combinations. So that was really fun.”
Scoring: MV, Olivia Fothergill G. K, Britney Donais 2G; Maddie Morgan G, A; Kaeri Ward G; Izzy Conover A; Kahlea Sullivan A.