Mead’s first goal by Stacey Clinesmith off a Missy Strasburg pass was all the Panthers needed as they defeated Richland 3-0 in the GSL/Big Nine Regional state playoffs Saturday at Mead.
The Panthers and face Klamiakin, which defeated Ferris, at home next Saturday.
Mead came out aggressively and kept the Bombers (13-5) freshman goalkeeper Michelle McKinnon in particular - alert with 12 shots-on-goal and many good looks at the net. Clinesmith’s score was the only one of the half as the Panthers went into halftime with a 1-0 lead.
Mead controlled the tempo of the game. Richland hardly invaded Panthers territory and mostly found itself on the defensive.
Mead scored a second time with the help of Richland defender Tara Swallow. The Panthers were pressuring deep in Bombers territory and a battle for an out-of-control ball among six players on the left side of Richland’s goal kept MicKinnon anchored to that corner. The ball flew out of the pack toward the right side of the goal and Swallow, while trying to kick the ball away from her goal, slipped on the muddy field and slid into Richland’s net with the ball at her feet.
Clinesmith scored her second goal again off a Strasburg pass with 7 minutes left to seal the victory.
Experience seemed to be a big factor in Mead’s win over a Bombers team dominated by freshmen and sophomores.
Said Panthers coach Dick Cullen: “They have younger girls. There was a calming presence that we had more so than they did.”
Richland coach Chris Smith agreed with Cullen’s assessment, and said, “We were flat today, didn’t play play too well.
“It’s a 2-1/2-hour trip back to Richland.”
Smith paused, then added, “It’s even longer when you lose.”
Kamiakin 2, Ferris 1
Kamiakin escaped with the victory over the Saxons in the first round at Lampson Stadium in Kennewick.
The Saxons outshot the Braves 15-3 in the second half, but Klamiakin keeper Carmel Lampson made eight saves after halftime and most of the Ferris shots were just high or wide.
Heather Lynn scored a header goal on a pass from Mariah McConnaughey with 15 minutes left in regulation, making it 2-1.
Klamiakin’s Jenny Merkel opened the scoring with a goal just 4:30 into the game. Teammate Meotis Erikson fired a free kick to the back of the goal past Ida Hardin only 2 minutes before Lynn notched her score.
“This was the first time we have gone this far,” said Ferris coach John Gould. “Some of the girls had some doubts, but after (Kamiakin) got its first goal, they settled down. We know now that we can compete and that was the most important aspect.”
Gould said being down 2-0 did not faze his team.
“Coming back is something we do well,” he said. “Many times this year we have been down a goal and ended up winning.”
Perhaps the Saxons’ best chance at what would have been the tying goal came with 19 minutes left as several Ferris players had a shot at the ball inside of 3 yards, only to have Lampson cradle the ball for her toughest save of the playoff match.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.