SHORELINE - Two successful penalty kicks stood between Squalicum and a Class 2A State title berth after 90 minutes of scoreless play. The Storm couldn't convert either.
Scores by Lauren Gibb, Rachel Dorr and Kim Dorr, and a miss by Sumner, gave the Storm a one-shot advantage with two attempts left. Squalicum and Sumner fans pressed against the railing of Shoreline Stadium watching in angst and the rain beat down on the field turf as Lauren Wallace blasted a shot high and Gracie Slater couldn't put her shot past Sumner keeper Abby Smith, who dove to her left and blocked Slater's kick to send the undefeated Spartans to the state title game.
"I keep a record. Every practice (shootouts) is what we finish with," Squalicum coach David Kish said. "Girls were stepping up at different times, and different girls were more consistent, so I went with consistency today. It's all you can do. You never know with the environment, but you go with consistency, and that's what I went with."
Kish used a different five-person lineup during Squalicum's shootout win against Lake Washington in the district tournament.
Sumner's players rushed Smith from midfield after she blocked Slater's shot. Squalicum slowly walked to it's sideline, visibly heartbroken.
"We know we have made history," Kish said. "This is farther than any Squalicum team has made it, and tomorrow we play for third place. We can't put our heads down. It hurts. We could be playing for a state championship, but we've done more than we've ever done."
Getting over the sting of being oh-so close to playing for a state title will undoubtedly be tough, especially given how well Squalicum played during regulation and both overtime periods.
The Storm (19-2-1) is the first club to hold Sumner (21-0-0) scoreless in regulation, and Squalicum had an overtime chances and an opportunity in the second half to take the lead.
"I thought we played really well," Kish said. "We controlled the whole first half. They came out with more fire in the second half, and we started playing our game again."
Squalicum and Sumner combined for 11 first-half shots but managed only one shot on goal apiece.
Sumner's best scoring chance came in the 14th minute. Brooke Lancaster found some open space 10 yards from goal after a Spartans' forward knocked over a Storm defender just outside the six-yard box. Squalicum keeper Lauren Eckert cut off Lancaster's angle to the near post, and the Sumner sophomore's shot went wide right.
Squalicum midfielder Julia DeVere sent a threatening cross from right to left into Sumner's scoring area in the seventh minute, but no Storm forwards were able to get a foot on the cross. Lauren Wallace put the Storm's lone shot on goal with a 35-yard free kick that fell into the hands of Sumner keeper Jamie Lange.
Both teams took turns playing in each other's end of the field, but neither Squalicum nor Sumner could solve the opposing defense. The Storm had allowed just nine goals heading into Friday's semifinal. Sumner gave up three during the regular season, districts and state, and Squalicum's play flustered the Spartans
"Going into halftime, we were a little down - had some frustrated players." Sumner coach Robi Turley said. "They were fast, skilled and attacking. We hadn't faced that style. We just pumped them up and reminded them that they can do this."
Eckert made a brilliant save in the 47th minute to prevent Sumner from taking an early second-half lead. Spartans' Alyssa Murray lined a shot right at Eckert from 30 yards out on the right side of the field. Squalicum's junior goalie leaped straight up and tipped the ball over the crossbar.
"I think it's huge for her, and I think it's a huge confidence boost," Kish said of the save. "A few times this year, she has gotten chipped. I think that right there defined her season. ... She has gotten stronger and stronger in the postseason."
Squalicum narrowly averted disaster in the 54th minute. A Sumner midfielder played a cross right to left to teammate Kelsie Colman, who redirected the cross with her head toward goal. The ball ricocheted off the crossbar right to Sumner's Kaylie Rozell, who was standing eight yards from goal on the left side of the field. Rozell took a shot around a Squalicum defender that deflected off the left post and back into play before the Storm safely cleared the ball.
Kim Hazlett nearly put the Storm on top during a barrage of Squalicum shots from the 57th-63rd minutes. Hazlett found the ball on a deflection in the 62nd minute and blasted a shot from 20 yards out that bounced off the right post. A minute earlier, Wallace was inches away from bending a free kick into the top left corner of goal just outside the 18-yard box from the right side of the field.
Hazlett was back at it in overtime. In the 82nd minute, the Storm freshman skimmed a shot off the top crossbar from 25 yards out. Other than Hazlett's near goal, neither team put a promising shot on frame.
Although Squalicum's offense couldn't manage a goal in regulation, its defensive performance overshadowed its inability to score. Andrea DeVere, Wallace, Jackie Dierdorff and Rachel together neutralized Sumner's high-powered offense.
"Defense did stellar, as they always do," Kish said. "Again, Sumner has some strong girls that pop. I think we handled them well. They even tried to switch a few things to try to break down my defense, and my defense handled it."
Squalicum's plays for third or fourth place at noon, Saturday, Nov. 17, at Shoreline Stadium.
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862.
SUMNER 1, SQUALICUM 0 (4-3 SHOOTOUT)
Shots on goal: Squalicum 4; Sumner 5. Goalies (saves): Squalicum: Lauren Eckert (3); Sumner: Jamie Lange (2).
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.