TUMWATER – McKenzie May may not be known for her goal-scoring touch, but she had the perfect touch Tuesday night to help send the Tumwater Thunderbirds to the Class 2A state playoffs.
May, a senior midfielder/forward, had her first multi-goal game of the season, scoring two first-half goals in a five-minute span to lead the T-Birds to a 3-0 shutout victory over crosstown rival Black Hills in the semifinals of the 2A District IV girls soccer tournament at Tumwater District Stadium.
The T-Birds (11-6 overall) not only clinched a state berth, but they also will play for the 2A District IV title Thursday night against 2A EvCo champion W.F. West, a 2-1 winner over Ridgefield on Tuesday, at 7 p.m. at Bearcat Stadium.
It will be Tumwater’s first appearance in the district title game since 2009, when the Thunderbirds lost to Hockinson, 3-1.
Regardless of the outcome Thursday, the T-Birds will host a first-round game of the Class 2A state playoffs next week.
May’s unassisted goals came in the 27th and 33rd minutes. Both shots came from 20 or more yards out; the first sailed over the head and out of reach of Wolves goalkeeper Ce Ce Noyen followed by a hard shot from 25 yards out on the right side that hit the upper left side of the goal to gave Tumwater a 2-0 lead.
“Sometimes, (the shots) are crazy and sometimes they’re dead on,” May said. “It’s hit and miss. Tonight, I was on.”
Since a midseason four-game losing skid, the T-Birds have won seven consecutive games, including a 1-0 win over Black Hills to end the regular season. Tumwater entered the playoffs as the fourth-place team from the EvCo, but upended Hockinson, regular-season champion of the 2A Greater St. Helens League, 3-2 in double overtime on Saturday in the first round of the district tournament, followed by a victory over the higher-seeded Wolves (No. 2 seed from the EvCo).
“We needed to make an impression and a statement that we’re here for a reason,” May said. “We needed to let everyone know that we’re supposed to go to state this year.”
Tumwater was the aggressor in the first half, outshooting the Wolves, 9-5, as it cruised to a 2-0 halftime lead.
With Tumwater’s lead still 2-0 late in the second half, Black Hills’ best chance to get on the scoreboard came on Jessi Fancher’s free kick in the 69th minute, but it sailed over the crossbar.
Senior Abbey Bergquist wrapped up the scoring in the 77th minute.
It was the third time the Wolves (13-5) have been shut out this season, with Tumwater blanking Black Hills in two consecutive games.
The journey to the state tournament isn’t over for Black Hills, but it gets tougher. The Wolves need to win two games, including Thursday’s 7 p.m. loser-out contest at home against Capital, to earn the third and final berth to state.
The bigger and more physical Thunderbirds – in addition to the rain – made things more difficult for the Wolves, first-year coach Allen Anderson said.
“Tumwater puts so much quick pressure on you and you don’t have the time and space to play those passes, and that affected us tonight,” Anderson said. “We’ll work hard and get ready for Capital on Thursday. This team has a tendency to want to do things the hard way this year.”
Capital 4, Aberdeen 0: The Cougars remain alive in the consolation round after a shutout win over the EvCo rival Bobcats.
Capital scored three goals in the first 11 minutes to take control. McKenzie Phillips and Logan Cox had two goals apiece.
Capital faces Black Hills at 7 p.m. Thursday at Tumwater District Stadium in another loser-out contest, with the winner playing for the final state berth Saturday.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org www.theolympian.com/southsoundsports @megwochnick