LAKEWOOD, Wash. – The semifinal curse stayed the course for the Mead girls soccer team Friday night.
Battling a high-octane Skyline offense, the Panthers let one goal get by and couldn’t score one of their own, losing 1-0 in the State 4A girls soccer semifinal at Harry Lang Stadium.
“You’ve gotta be sharp,” Steve Snider, the second-year Mead coach said. “We had a little trouble settling the ball down. They were pretty high pressure and it was disruptive for us.”
Skyline (13-2-2) advances to meet Woodinville (14-3-1) at 8 p.m. today for the championship. The Falcons beat Jackson 1-0.
Mead (18-2) will face Jackson (16-2-3) at 2 p.m. for third place.
The loss is just the second of the season for the Panthers, but the ninth time in 11 state semifinal appearances that they have missed the title game.
“At this point, you’ve just got to play well,” Snider said. “I don’t think it’s been anything that is hanging over our heads, you’ve just got to be at your best.”
It looked like the weather was going to play a factor in the game early, with a brisk, cold wind and typical November rain blowing through the field, but neither team used that to their advantage.
Despite the slippery conditions, the Spartans were on the attack early, sending the Panthers back on their heels.
Skyline had four attempts at a goal before Mead got its first major offensive showing, but a corner kick by the Panthers arced high and missed the goal.
The Spartans’ intense energy and offensive pressure allowed them to control the tempo, leaving Mead looking out of sorts at times in a scoreless first half.
In the second half, Skyline didn’t waste any time. The Spartans’ goal came in the first minute when junior midfielder Coral Anderson booted the ball past Mead’s keeper, senior Terris Kelsey, on an assist from senior Kiara Williams.
With the lead, the Spartans kept up the pressure and continued to control the pace. The Panthers had a few late chances, but couldn’t pull one in.
“We came out here knowing that we had surpassed everyone’s expectations,” junior Breanne Taylor said. “What happens is what’s going to happen. It’s a hard thing, but we met our goal and we came so much further than we did last year. We just need to leave the field with that joy … we’re not going to let this affect us.”