Saturday’s 2B Girls Soccer: Adna Falls to Kalama in District Title Game
Uncharted Territory: Pirates Forced to Recalibrate Following First Loss of the Season
By Jordan Nailon
The scoreboard showed zeros for the first 52 minutes of gameplay here Saturday during the District 4 girls soccer championship match between Adna and Kalama. However, for those familiar with the formidable Adna attack there were signs that things were not going entirely according to plan for the Pirates from the get go.
When the final whistle sounded those misgivings were confirmed by the surprising configuration on the scoreboard that read – Kalama 2, Adna 0.
Throughout the district title contest Kalama was able to dominate possession time while keeping the ball deep in Adna territory far longer than any other team had managed up to that point during the Pirates undefeated regular season romp. The Chinooks seemed to come out on the right side of nearly every jump ball scenario and they regularly had Adna players scrambling to find the correct position on the pitch. In the end it was a pair of perfectly placed kicks from the corner that allowed Kalama to be the first team to get the best of Adna this year.
Coming into the district title affair Adna had already managed to shutout Kalama twice on the season with a 2-0 win on Sept. 17 and a 3-0 win on Oct. 15. For the Chinooks though, their third try proved to be the charm they were looking for all along.
“It is always hard to beat a team three times. That happens to us a lot,” said Adna coach Juli Aselton. “It was just a case of they were getting to the ball a little bit quicker than we were on some of those and we weren’t quite connecting on some of our passes. We’d have some good runs and then we couldn’t quite get it there.”
Kalama took the lead in the 52nd minute when Chloe Gould crossed a pass into the heart of the Adna keeper box where Ryann Bailey was able to use her head to sneak the ball into the net.
Playing from behind is a scenario that the Pirates experienced only one other time on the year when they trailed Ocosta by a goal briefly before surging back to win. On Saturday that same composure was not at the ready for Adna and they began to play a frantic style of the beautiful game for the final 28 minutes.
“We knew it would be a possibility that we’d get scored on today we just knew that we needed to work hard on getting the ball on offense. It’s always a tough decision whether you play defense of offense,” explained Aselton.
While the effort was there the execution was not and Adna wound up surrendering a second goal in the 64th minute. That goal followed a Kalama corner kick that pinballed off of multiple players in the goalie box before Bailey was able to assist Melanie Martinez for the score.
“They played a really tough game tonight and their number 10 (Martinez) and number 13 (Bailey) did great. They were on the All-League team and we knew we needed to keep an eye on them and we left them open sometimes and that left them with a good chance to bring the ball down the field,” noted Aselton.
While the Pirates’ first loss of the season cost them a district championship trophy it did not mark the end of their season. Adna had already clinched a state playoff berth by defeating 3-0 Onalaska on Tuesday in the semifinals. According to Aselton, if her team can regroup and learn from their miscues quickly then Saturday’s defeat could ultimately reveal itself to be a blessing in disguise.
“The coaches and I have talked about that already, the fact that if we were going to lose a game we’d want to lose it now so that we knew how to work for it and work harder. It’s always hard when we get to that first round of state or second round of state and then we’re not quite getting the ball to where we want it to be,” Aselton said. “Obviously we would have loved to have had a district title but we are still taking home a trophy. The girls still worked hard, and we’re going into state next week. So for us, sometimes losing a game has you coming back stronger. That’s what we’re hoping for.”
Adna (17-1) will find out their opponent for the first round of state on Sunday when the WIAA bracket is released.
Onalaska Earns State Berth With 1-0 Win Over Ocosta
Onalaska made their first trip to the District 4 girls soccer tournament this season and will now be making their first appearance ever in the state tournament with a 1-0 win over Ocosta in the third place game at Tiger Stadium in Centralia on Saturday morning.
“It feels great. The girls worked really hard today and have really worked hard all season to get to this point,” Onalaska coach Chris Van Clifford said.
The lone goal was scored by Onalaska freshman Cierra Russ in the 56th minute.
“Luna Moran-Fagan, which was one of our defenders, she was like, you’ll get one off these corners,” Russ said. “I just went up for it, my sister (Autumn Russ) passed it to me and then a girl stabbed at me so I had a free shot and I took it and the keeper dropped it and let it in.”
Russ was excited to score the goal that sent the Lady Loggers to the state tournament.
“It was great, I’m so happy,” Russ said. “We’re expecting high level teams but we’re going to work our butt off at practice and hopefully do really good at state.”
Ocosta defeated Onalaska in both meetings in the regular season, including a 1-0 win in Ocosta on Sept. 6 and a 2-1 win in a shootout on Oct. 1 in Onalaska.
“They beat us twice during the regular season and we knew we could beat them. We knew we had them if we just calmed down and played like we practiced and worked really hard,” Van Clifford said. “They looked great, especially the last 20 minutes when they played better and better so that was super exciting.”
The State 2B girls soccer bracket will be released on Sunday, and Van Clifford hopes Onalaska can continue the ride this season.
“It would be kind of cool to win a game at state, winning a game at state puts you in the final four so that would be fantastic,” Van Clifford said.