Issaquah tops Skyline for soccer title

November 10, 2009

By Christopher Huber

Skyline junior midfielder Madi Barney (left), heads the ball away from Issaquah’s Dana Talley (right) and another player in the second half of their KingCo 4A championship soccer game Nov. 3. By Christopher Huber

Skyline junior midfielder Madi Barney (left), heads the ball away from Issaquah’s Dana Talley (right) and another player in the second half of their KingCo 4A championship soccer game Nov. 3. By Christopher Huber

As the Issaquah High School girls soccer team celebrated on the field with mobbing fans Nov. 3, head coach Tom Bunnell reflected on the moment. Among all the big games he and the Eagles had won, this was possibly the greatest.

“They’re just fighters,” he said. “No matter what, we’re gonna pressure and fight.”

The Eagles beat the Skyline Spartans 3-1 at Issaquah Stadium to take the 2009 4A KingCo Conference tournament title. With the victory, Issaquah, which also won the regular-season title, earned the league’s No. 1 berth to the state tournament. The Eagles hosted Bellarmine Prep Nov. 10 in the first round, after The Press’ deadline.

The match was a true Issaquah-Skyline rivalry battle that proved to be a test of endurance and alertness.

“We made too many mistakes tonight to put ourselves in a position to win. And that’s something we normally don’t do,” Skyline head coach Don Braman said. “We’ve just got to get this one behind us and move forward.”

Issaquah led 1-0 at halftime, and both teams managed to score three goals in the first three minutes of the second half.

It was a back-and-forth tempo for the first 40 minutes. Issaquah’s first goal came off the foot of junior forward Margaret Rauch in the 26th minute, when she snuck the ball in past rushing Skyline goalkeeper Jill Stika.

“We worked really hard, just came out … and we just worked our butts off,” Rauch said.

Rauch struck again for the Eagles in the 41st minute, when a Skyline defender attempted to clear the ball from just a few feet in front of the goal on an Issaquah free kick. Rauch took the ball in mid-air and knocked it in the left side of the goal.

“She’s just a brawler. She’s always scrapping for everything she gets,” Bunnell said after the game. “That’s why she’s one of the leaders in the league in scoring. She’s the hardest-working kid. She’s a difference maker on the field.”

Issaquah led 2-0.

The Issaquah defense held strong most of the second half. But Skyline scored its first goal of the night less than a minute later.

As the ball pinged around between a few players, Spartan junior forward Michelle Bretl tucked it in the left side of the goal, past Issaquah goalkeeper Brooke Miller.

Still ahead in the 43rd minute, the Eagles took advantage of a penalty kick opportunity. Senior midfielder Kristin Maris, the league leader in goals with 15, wound up and laced a shot past Skyline’s Tina Vargas for the game’s final goal.

“It was great that we responded with pressure right after that stuff,” Bunnell said.

Issaquah held the lead the rest of the night by beating Skyline to the ball and fielding a nearly impenetrable defense. Skyline had some looks throughout the second half, but seemed to lose its speed and ball control.

“We definitely came out with an attitude and it’s exceeded all expectations this year,” Rauch said. “No one was expecting this. We just put it to the metal and are just going to keep going.”

Spartans qualify for state

Skyline earned a berth into the 4A state tournament when the Spartans defeated Battle Ground 2-0 Nov. 7 in a Bi-District 2-4 playoff game.

Madi Barney scored both goals for Skyline. The Spartans played at Tahoma Nov. 10 in the first round.

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