PUYALLUP, Wash. – Jada Stevenson came up with the only save during the penalty kick shootout, turning away Gonzaga Prep’s Mia Padon with a diving stop to power the West Valley-Yakima Rams to a 1-0 (5-4) victory over the Bullpups in the State 4A semifinals on a chilly Friday at Sparks Stadium.
Gonzaga Prep, which saw its 16-match winning streak snapped with the loss, controlled the pace for most of the regulation and both overtime sessions, but failed to find the back of the net as the match turned to PKs to decide the outcome.
Both teams connected on their first four penalty kicks with Gonzaga Prep (17-4) getting scores from Larkin Russell, Darby Doyle, Tayler Drynan and Annie Clark.
The Rams (18-0-1) matched the Bullpups shot-for-shot and took the advantage on their fifth shooter’s attempt after Natalie Nagle’s blast bounced off the hands of Gonzaga Prep goalkeeper Zoe Boleneus and into the goal.
The Bullpups were unable to find the equalizer.
“It is a brutal reality of our game,” Gonzaga Prep Billy Barmes said. “If you don’t score the goal on the scoreboard to prove you’re the better team you leave it up to a really bad way to end a sporting event.”
The Bullpups, making the final four for the first time since 2004, will face Camas, a shootout loser to Issaquah, for the third-place trophy Saturday at noon.
“It’s going to be tough tomorrow. To get this far, you start to think if you don’t win (a state title) it will be a disappointment,” said Barmes, who took several minutes consulting his squad following the contest. “I just told them how proud I am of them as competitors. I told them what an amazing team they are and how much I loved them.”
Gonzaga Prep dominated the stat sheet during regulation, holding a 10-1 advantage on shots with four shots on goal.
The two teams battled to a scoreless first half with neither squad able to establish much of an offensive flow.
“The slow first half, probably for both teams, was because neither of us had played since last Saturday,” Barmes said. “We hadn’t had a game in six days, which was our longest stretch this season. It was just us getting a feel of playing again. We were also trying to get used to the turf, which was hard. I was like playing on an ice rink.”
By the time the second half started, the turf had turned slick and icy, but the Bullpups still managed to outshoot the Rams 8-0 in the half.
“We were confident we were doing some good things in the first half that it made us think we were going to get creative with something in the second” Barmes said, “but that one quality chance never came.”
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