LACEY – Timberline was in offensive attack mode from the midway point of the second half.
Wilson seemed satisfied simply leaving Lacey with a tie, choosing a more defensive approach.
The Rams’ strategy prevailed.
It wasn’t the outcome the Blazers wanted, but Timberline remained unbeaten in Narrows League 3A play, getting an early goal from Krista Jones en route to a 1-all tie in a pivotal girls soccer match against the Rams on Thursday night at South Sound Stadium.
“Obviously, a tie wasn’t what we were looking for tonight,” said Timberline coach Jeff Peltier, who guided the Blazers to the Class 3A state tournament last season, “but it still keeps us atop the league standings.”
Timberline, unbeaten in its past three games, improved to 5-2-1 overall and 5-0-1 in league play.
The Rams are 4-2-2 overall and 4-0-2 in league.
Both teams will have to navigate through most of the second-half slate of league games before meeting in Tacoma for the rematch Oct. 30,where the possibility is very strong of a league title showdown.
“Hopefully, the rematch is for the league title,” Peltier said. “This was our first tough league match. I thought we got off to a fast start, but lost some of that momentum in the first half. I was very pleased with how we played in the second half. We got some of that energy back.”
Timberline wasted little time getting on the board.
Jade Castaneda fired a shot on goal from 10 yards out, which was batted down by Wilson goalkeeper Danielle Rhen.
Jones raced in to punch in the rebound, sending the ball into the back of the net just three minutes into the contest.
The Blazers got another good scoring opportunity in the first half, getting a corner kick from Jordan Meyer in the 14th minute that Shelby Coates nearly headed in from point-blank range, but Rhen was able to punch the ball away at the last moment, preserving the one-goal deficit for Wilson.
“We’ve been working on that all week,” Peltier said about the corner kick. “If the goalie doesn’t get a touch on it, it’s a goal.”
Megan Chambers scored the equalizer for the Rams in the 30th minute.
Each team had a handful of chances toward the end of the first half, but neither was able to capitalize, sending the game into intermission tied.
The second half saw the physical play increase on both sides, with Timberline pressuring more on offense and controlling the game’s pace but failing to reclaim the lead.
Despite the tie, Timberline places itself in great position to claim the league championship, controlling its destiny while holding a slim lead in the standings over Wilson.
Timberline returns to action Tuesday when the Blazers face crosstown rival North Thurston. The Blazers won the first meeting, 3-1, on Sept. 13.