TUMWATER - With seasons on the line, the fate of the Centralia and Tumwater girls soccer teams would come down to a shootout Thursday night.
In a contest that decided which team’s season ended, and which team advances to possibly earn the third and final state berth, Rainey Pelzel’s winning penalty kick in the shootout sent the visiting Tigers to Saturday’s winner-to-state game with a 1-0 victory (5-4 in penalty kicks) over Tumwater in a 2A District IV consolation girls soccer game at Tumwater District Stadium.
It was sweet redemption for the Centralia junior midfielder, who earlier this season missed two penalty kicks because of a hurt leg.
“I’ve never had a feeling like this. It was instant relief,” Pelzel said. “I was just thinking, ‘I gotta kick it hard, harder than the last two.’”
Centralia has won consecutive loser-out games and needs to beat Mark Morris at Longview Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon to earn a berth to the Class 2A state tournament. District IV receives three state berths, unlike years past, when four teams from the district were represented at state.
Centralia upset 2A Evergreen Conference champion Chehalis, 3-1, on Tuesday. And it had momentum going into Thursday’s game against the Thunderbirds. Neither team generated many opportunities in the first half, but Centralia controlled a lot of the play on their side with the play of their midfield, outshooting Tumwater, 5-2 in the first 40 minutes.
The two quality looks the Tigers had were stopped by Tumwater goalkeeper Isabel Haynie, while Centralia keeper Molly Hull countered with two saves of her own.
Unfortunately, Haynie suffered a leg injury with 5 minutes remaining in regulation and was pulled from goal and replaced by Erin Wiseman after three Centralia shots during the shootout.
In the shootout, the teams traded made shots before Centralia’s Jenny Milton, who played forward during regulation and the overtimes, stopped Mariah O’Neil’s shot in goal to give the Tigers a 2-1 PK advantage. Pelzel’s winning shot past Wiseman gave Centralia the victory.
Tumwater’s season-ending loss snaps a three-year streak of making the state tournament. After defeating Mark Morris, 2-1, in the opening round, the T-Birds dropped a semifinal game to Hockinson, 2-1.
Tumwater also played without one of its starting forwards, sophomore Abbey Bergquist, for the third straight game.
Bergquist received a red card for unsportsmanlike conduct in the regular-season finale against Black Hills, which requires a player to sit out three consecutive games.
“I was proud of the way the girls came together and fought though things,” Tumwater coach Brett Bartlett said. “We had some unfortunate results the past two games, where I felt we were the better team both times. We just didn’t get the opportunities to finish.”
Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 email@example.com