Mackenzie Henke had her mind made up long before she approached the ball.
She was going low left with her kick, no matter what.
And she executed her straight-forward plan to perfection Wednesday night, tucking the ball just inside the left goal post – and just outside the reach of Gonzaga Prep’s diving goalkeeper Christie Tombari – to give visiting Tahoma a 2-1 shootout win over the Bullpups in the opening round of the State 4A girls soccer tournament.
“I already knew what I was going to do when I set the ball down,” said Henke, a junior forward, whose winning goal came in extra shots of the shootout. “I didn’t even look at the goalie. I just picked my spot, saw it and hit it.
“And it feels really good.”
Henke’s kick decided a tightly contested match against a Bullpups team (15-3) that used a goal by Colleen Lindsay in the 64th minute to tie the game at 1. It also moved the Bears into the second round of the 4A playoffs and a home matchup against Central Valley on Saturday.
G-Prep saw its season end despite another splendid performance by Tombari, a senior, who turned back five shots on goal and made a couple of outstanding saves.
“That’s a tough way to end it,” Bullpups coach Christian Birrer said after the loss. “The only thing going through my head right now is absolute pride in just being a part of this team. These girls have been outstanding this year, and you can see from the expressions on their faces, even now, just how much they love each other.
“This is just the way soccer is sometimes. Tahoma is a very good soccer team, which is why they’re ranked as one of the top five in the state. But we showed we could play with them.”
Tahoma scored the game’s first goal at the 20-minute mark when Becca Velasco headed in a nicely executed corner kick by Brie Hooks. But G-Prep answered midway through the second half, when Lindsay, a sophomore forward, took an over-the-top pass from Giulia Olivia, bumped it toward the left corner and then beat Tahoma goalie Selene Aguilar with a left-footed kick from a difficult angle.
“It felt like we were totally going to win after that,” Lindsay said.
But that turned out to be the final goal in regulation, setting the stage for Henke, whose winner came after Aguilar had stopped shootout attempts by G-Prep’s Madi Graham and Shannon McFaul.
“We had our chances,” said Birrer, whose Bullpups led 4-3 at one point in the shootout after goals by Madi Payne, Jessica Bennett, Lindsay and Annie Tombari. “But that’s soccer.”
Christie Tombari, who suffered her first loss in goal this fall, was gracious in defeat.
“Their goalkeeper made some great saves out there,” she said, “so congrats to them. I hope they go far.
“But this team was the tightest I’ve ever played on at Prep. We were district champs, and it was amazing to play with this team year. I loved it.”
Dakota Wickard made three saves during a shootout and visiting Pullman (16-5) defeated previously unbeaten East Valley (Yakima) 2-1 to open state play.
The Greyhounds won the shootout 3-0 on goals by Hannah Adams, Becky Birchett and Bre Daugherty.
Birchett also scored in regulation, off a pass from Laura Guido at 24 minutes, to tie the score at 1.
The Red Devils entered the match 17-0-1.
Pullman will play against Great Northern League rival East Valley at 1 p.m. Saturday at EV in the quarterfinals.
EV (14-6) advanced with a 3-0 win over visiting Prosser as Amanda Bliesner scored twice and Brittany Dugger beat three defenders to score from 18 yards.
Defender Sydney Sol set up Bliesner’s first goal at 20 minutes with a through ball.
After Dugger scored at 42 minutes, Bliesner capped the scoring 4 minutes later after the Mustangs’ defense failed to clear the ball.
EV has won eight consecutive matches since an Oct. 11 loss to Pullman. EV is 1-2 against the Greyhounds this season.
Taylor Lewis scored twice and Adrienne Seger posted the shutout as Newport (18-2) opened state play with a 3-0 win over visiting Kiona-Benton.
Lewis opened scoring in the 39th minute when she dribbled around two defenders and scored from 6 yards out to the lower-right post. Her second goal came early in the second half after a corner kick from Ryen Nicholas.
Coralee Roberts capped the scoring by heading in Sydney Hearnden’s crossing pass at 60 minutes.
Newport will host Saturday’s 2 p.m. quarterfinal against Overlake.
In another opener, Grace Martin scored twice in the first half to power La Salle to a 5-0 win over visiting Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) at Union Gap. Allie McGree added a pair of assists for the Lightning, who will meet either Naches Valley or Cashmere in Saturday’s quarterfinals. The Eagles finished 10-8.
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