Opponents beware: Krista Jones not only can score, but she can stop shots, too.
Timberline’s junior forward and leading scorer from a season ago has some tricks up her sleeves: She’s also an outstanding goalkeeper.
When Timberline played 3A power Prairie in a West Central/Southwest bi-district winner-to-state game last November, starting goalkeeper Hailey Holder left the game with an injury with 10 minutes remaining.
Talk on the field among the Prairie players was how they thought the game had turned in their favor. They needed a game-tying goal in the closing minutes, and they thought Jones was an emergency goalkeeper after she picked up her goalkeepers’ gloves from the sideline and took her position in goal.
“I was nervous,” Jones said.
Jones, who played the first 70 minutes of the game as a striker, helped preserve the 1-0 victory, allowing Timberline to celebrate its first state berth in girls soccer in two decades.
“They didn’t realize I had two goalkeepers on my squad,” Timberline coach Jeff Peltier said. “That’s a huge luxury.”
Jones has been a big luxury for Peltier and Timberline. She was the Blazers’ starting goalkeeper as a freshman, then split time in 2011 between forward and goalkeeper. In addition to her last-minute goalkeeping duties against Prairie, she played three other games in goal.
But her natural position, Jones said, is striker.
Playing two very different positions can be difficult – but it can be helpful, too.
“Forward is more speed and getting the ball in the goal, and as goalkeeper you’re trying to figure out where they’re going to shoot,” Jones said. “It helps being a forward. (In goal), you try to think, ‘If I was a forward, where would I put the ball?’ ”
During the Blazers’ breakthrough 2011, Jones was Timberline’s leading scorer with 10 goals while splitting time between forward and goalkeeper. But she’s the type of player who will do whatever it takes to help her team. She also is an all-league outfielder, making it an easy transition from diving for a ball in fastpitch or in goal in soccer.
“I do it without thinking,” she said.
Peltier called Jones a scoring machine, a player who is meant to be a striker. But he added: “If I had to put her back in goal, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second.”
Timberline has made steady improvement in recent seasons, earning back-to-back West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament appearances, and last season, for the first time since 1991, made the state playoffs.
Despite its 3-0 loss to eventual state champion Seattle Prep in the 3A first round, it was a turning point for a program that had struggled since the early 1990s when Jody Dutra, an eventual University of Portland player, became the state’s all-time leading scorer with 111 career goals for Timberline.
If the current squad makes the state playoffs again, it would be the second time in school history for the Blazers to earn back-to-back state berths – the first since a string of three from 1989-91.
Jones said it can happen.
“We have a lot of freshmen who have a lot of skills, and bring a lot to the team,” she said. “We want to make it to state again.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
MF Abbey Bergquist, sr., Tumwater
GK Olivia Brock, sr., Olympia
MF/F Logan Cox, sr., Capital
F Krista Jones, jr., Timberline
MF Whitney Lowe, jr., Black Hills
D Jordan Meyer, sr., Timberline
MF Mariah O’Neil, sr., Tumwater
MF McKenzie Phillips, sr., Capital
F Beautiful Reed, sr., River Ridge
F Arin Seidlitz, soph., Black Hills
D Megan Spataro, soph., Olympia
F Meghan Ward, sr., W.F. West THREE STORY LINES TO WATCH
FUTURE DIVISION I PLAYERS
Tumwater’s Abbey Bergquist (Gonzaga) and Mariah O’Neil (Seattle U) are two of the area’s NCAA Division I-bound girls soccer players on high school rosters. Another area soccer player, Capital’s Alyssa Edenstrom has verbally committed to the University of Portland, but elected not to play high school soccer this fall. The last South Sound player to play Division I soccer was Olympia’s Natalie Daniels, who signed with Cleveland State in 2007 and eventually set a school record for most goals in a season (nine).
LOADED 2A EVERGREEN CONFERENCE
Black Hills is the reigning league champions and W.F. West is the defending District IV champion, and both will have plenty of company this season. Expect a logjam at the top of the standings involving Black Hills, Capital, Tumwater and W.F. West, which features the reigning offensive MVP in Meghan Ward. Black Hills, under first-year coach Allen Anderson, has already outscored opponents in three games, 19-0. Ten of the 15 first-team all-2A EvCo players from 2011 return.
CAN OLYMPIA CHALLENGE 4A NARROWS POWERS?
Defense will be a big strength for Olympia, which posted a shutout in its season-opening game Tuesday night. Senior Olivia Brock is the league’s top returning goalkeeper. With UW-bound Becca Schoales of South Kitsap, regarded as the top player in the state, out with a season-ending knee injury, the shift in power in the 4A Narrows goes to Gig Harbor, which returns 12 players with starting firstname.lastname@example.org www.theolympian.com/southsoundsports email@example.com