The high school girls’ soccer playoffs are well underway after a full batch of games on Saturday, Nov. 1, and one thing is for sure — this is going to be exciting. Here are five takeaways from the opening rounds of the 1A, 2A and 3A district playoffs.
1. The 1A district tournament might have been the best thing in prep girls’ soccer this year. Five of the seven games in the tournament went to shootouts. Seriously only two games didn’t go 80 minutes, plus 10 minutes, plus at least five shots from the mark. That’s a lot of intense soccer.
2. The playoffs bring a different kind of intensity to games. Mark Wright said this on Saturday after his 1-0 win and it certainly showed. The Red Raiders’ Kayla Heidenreich somehow found a way to score in the 79th minute. Squalicum suddenly turned it on in its 5-0 win. Ferndale was physical and dominant. The playoffs are a different atmosphere and it’s pretty great.
3. Only two Whatcom County 2A teams can make it through to state. With a Bellingham win and Sehome loss, the loser of the Squalicum-Bellingham semifinal match will face off against Sehome in a loser-out match — that is if Sehome is able to get past Cedarcrest. This all just means that my prediction of the Northwest Conference securing all four state berths is all but finished unless Sedro-Woolley is able to make a run.
4. Ferndale looks poised to make its first 3A state tournament. The Golden Eagles won just their second district game in the past eight seasons but they looked mighty good while doing so. Jordin Bartel is the real deal and this Golden Eagles team is hungry. They likely should have picked up a tie with Squalicum back in October but a late goal by Kim Dorr doomed them. Don’t be surprised if Ferndale upsets No. 1-seed Edmonds-Woodway on Tuesday, Nov. 4.
5. Meridian, Bellingham and Squalicum will all likely make state. The Trojans haven’t looked great thus far in the playoffs (a shootout win and a shootout loss) but Meridian gets a bye in the first round of the 1A bi-district tournament and will get a loser-out contest against Mount Baker or Bear Creek on Nov. 8. Meanwhile, Bellingham and Squalicum only need one more win to secure a state spot. They’ll get two opportunities to do so and both teams are too good to let two opportunities to slip by. This also means that Sehome is likely not going to make it.