High School Soccer

King’s thwarts Meridian girls’ soccer district title hopes again

Video: Meridian girls' soccer falls to King's

Meridian's girls' soccer team lost 6-0 in the Northwest District title game on Saturday, Oct. 31, at Whatcom Community College.
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Meridian's girls' soccer team lost 6-0 in the Northwest District title game on Saturday, Oct. 31, at Whatcom Community College.

It has to be a little disheartening at this point.

For four straight years, since the district tournament switched to bracket play, King’s girls’ soccer team has taken home the title. For the past three, the Knights’ opponent in the championship match has been Meridian.

The Trojans dropped a playoff game to King’s for the sixth time — three in the district title game — in the past four year in a 6-0 Class 1A Northwest District championship loss on Saturday, Oct. 31, at Whatcom Community College.

King’s is guaranteed a spot at the Class 1A State Tournament, while Meridian will face a loser-out, winner-to-state game against Sultan or Overlake Saturday, Nov. 7, at Sultan High School.

King’s has outscored Meridian 15-1 in the last six meetings — all postseason games — in a span of four years

“It’s not something you get used to,” Meridian (9-7-1, 5-6-1 Northwest Conference) coach Terri Tigert said of the repeated defeats at the hand of King’s. “There’s always that team that seems like you never get past. You want to have hope going into the game. For some reason, it wasn’t there. The will to win just wasn’t there.”

It was an uncharacteristic performance from the Trojans, who in a 5-1 win Wednesday finally put together the answers it needed in the midfield after injuries, including one to junior Ryley Zapien, took their toll.

On Saturday, Meridian reverted to its struggles in the central of the field.

There was a lot of things going on in all sorts of the field but a lot of it’s in the mind, the fight. I just think it was pretty lackadaisical.

Meridian coach Terri Tigert

The Trojans were unable to keep possession long enough to put together an offense, which resulted in Meridian failing to record a shot on target.

Without possession, the Knights (13-1-4, 10-1-3 Cascade) were free to pepper goalkeeper Sydney Gospodinovich, who played admirably in net, making 11 saves of the 17 Knights shots on frame.

King’s scored in the 12th, 30th, 34th, 37th, 40th and 67th minutes in a dominating performance led by sophomore forward Katie Stella, who tallied three goals, and freshman Callie Wright, who recorded two assists. Carlie Thiel, Hannah Echelbarger and Anna Parker also scored for King’s, while Mikayla Bryant and Abby Jenkins picked up assists.

The lackluster performance all started with the Trojans’ mindset heading into the game, Tigert said.

“There was a lot of things going on in all sorts of the field but a lot of it’s in the mind, the fight,” the second-year coach said. “I just think it was pretty lackadaisical. Not wanting to win balls in the air, not wanting to put pressure on players. The fight just wasn’t there and it just seemed pretty lazy for the most part.”

7 games the Trojans have been held scoreless in coach Terri Tigert’s 37 games as head coach

The Trojans best chance was a long shot at best. On a Trojans’ corner kick, the ball bounced out to Karlee Hays, who passed it to Payton Lunde on the wing. Lunde one-timed a shot that made its best effort to find its way into side netting, but instead flew wide.

There will be plenty of time for Meridian to right the ship with a week until its winner-to-state, loser-out game, which could be a blessing and a curse, Tigert noted.

“It’s going to be a long week of practice,” she said. “It’s hard to go five, six days of practice without a game, so just staying focused the whole time will be key.”

Reach Joshua Hart at 360-715-2238 or joshuahart@bhamherald.com.

King’s 6, Meridian 0

Goal: Carlie Thiel (King’s), assist: Mikayla Bryant, time 12; Goal: Hannah Echelbarger (King’s), assist: Callie Wright, time 30; Goal: Katie Stella (King’s), time 34; Goal: Katie Stella (King’s), assist: Callie Wright, time 37; Goal: Anna Parker (King’s), assist: Abby Jenkins, time 40; Goal: Katie Stella (King’s), time 67. Goalies (saves) — King’s: Maddie Nielsen (0); Meridian: Sydney Gospodinovich (11). Shots on goal — King’s 17, Meridian 0.

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