Spartans repeat as soccer champs
November 24, 2009
By Christopher Huber
Overcome with emotion and reeling from what she had helped her team accomplish, Skyline High School sophomore goalkeeper Tina Vargas wasn’t quite sure what to say after the game was over Nov. 21 at Harry Lang Stadium in Lakewood.
All she knew was that she had just helped defeat district rival Issaquah in the 4A state championship soccer game. She blocked two of the Eagles’ four penalty kicks — one went over the goal — in a shootout.
“My goal is to make them scared, and I know that when I make them scared, that makes me better,” Vargas said. “When they look me in the eye, that’s when I get them intimidated.”
Paired with Vargas’ intimidation factor and its 3-1 shootout margin, the Skyline girls soccer team repeated as the 4A state champion, beating Issaquah 2-1.
“Tina Vargas just was absolutely out of her mind. She is able to go to a place, mentally, that very few players I’ve ever had are able to go to,” head coach Don Braman said. “She is just absolutely dominant in penalty kick situations.”Junior forward Michelle Bretl scored the winning penalty kick for Skyline.
“To repeat as state champions in this state is absolutely, probably the most difficult challenge I can picture for a high school team,” Braman said as the team celebrated.
Vargas played an integral role in the second half of regulation, too. The teams played to a tie through two overtimes. But diving saves in the 51st and 55th minute held Issaquah at bay.
“I knew that sometime in my high school career, I would be able to play in the state championship game. And I knew when I was going to play in that game I was going to give it my all,” Vargas said.
Skyline jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute, when senior midfielder Shea O’Donnell snuck the ball past Issaquah keeper Brooke Miller on a breakaway shot.
In the beginning, Skyline controlled the tempo, but Issaquah came out fired up in the second half.
Just five minutes in, forward Kristen Maris, the 4A KingCo Conference’s leading scorer, tied the game at 1-1. The senior’s 21st goal of the season came when freshman midfielder Audrey Thomas fed her the ball in the center of the box. Maris fired to the left, just past a diving Vargas.
“She’s been spectacular all year long,” Issaquah coach Tom Bunnell said. “And to do it in the league that we play in … she’s so composed and so crafty.”
Both teams came close in the second half, but Issaquah pressed harder on offense. Its defense held Skyline to only a couple of close scoring chances.
“The intensity is amazing between the two teams,” Bunnell said.
Senior goalkeeper Jill Stika held Issaquah scoreless in the first half, continuing her state-tournament shutout streak to eight, Braman said.
“She’s fabulous for us,” he said.
Issaquah and Skyline had split two regular-season meetings, including Issaquah’s 3-1 win in the KingCo championship match Nov. 3.
“Issaquah had really done some damage to us at their place and we really wanted to redeem ourselves,” Braman said.
Issaquah won Class 3A titles in 2004, 2006 and 2007.
Despite the loss, Bunnell said he was satisfied with the team’s success.
“We’ve created something really special,” he said. “And that is the best part about it.”
En route to the finals
Issaquah and Skyline each won semifinal games Nov. 20 to reach the title game.
Issaquah defeated Kamiakin 3-1. Maris scored two of the goals. Lindsay Stoll had a goal and an assist for the Eagles. Maris, assisted by Margaret Rauch, tallied the game’s first goal at 20 minutes. Kamiakin tied the score six minutes later on a goal by Emilee Meyers. However, Maris, assisted by Stoll, broke the tie two minutes before halftime.
In the second half, Stoll, assisted by Maris, gave Issaquah insurance with a goal at the 51st minute.
Skyline, meanwhile, defeated Kentwood 1-0 on a shootout. Maddie Christ, Coral Anderson, Emily Anderson, Michelle Bretl, Anna Morgan, Alexa Storm and Kayla Shin connected in the shootout for Skyline.
Skyline state title history
2009 – 4A soccer
2009 – 4A swimming
2008 – 4A soccer
2007 – 3A track and field
2001 – 3A cross country
1999 – 3A fast-pitch softball
2008 – 4A football
2007 – 3A football
2005 – 4A football
2000 – 3A football
Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.