In this edition of “The Full 80,” we’ll look at matches between Skyline, Redmond and Issaquah finishing off KingCo 4A play with the regular-season title on the line and Nathan Hale and Seattle Prep fighting for Metro supremacy in their respective divisions.
As always, this week’s big matchups and rankings can be found at the bottom of the post.
The race for supremacy in KingCo 4A girls soccer annually has reverberations around the state. That league chase generally factors strongly in ultimately crowning a Class 4A state champion.
The KingCo 4A title once again is boiling down to some key matches in the final two weeks of the regular season.
Perennial powers Skyline, which has won three of the last four 4A state titles, and Issaquah, with three crowns in 3A in the last eight seasons and one 4A finals appearance, will fight with new kids on the block, Redmond, for the top spot with three matches remaining.
Unranked Redmond and third-ranked Skyline lead the standings at 7-0-0 with 21 points apiece with No. 4 Issaquah nipping at their heels at 6-1-0 and 18 points.
No one understands the stakes better than ninth-year Issaquah coach Tom Bunnell.
“It’s massive,” Bunnell said of the top teams all facing off in the final three regular-season contests. “We play Redmond on Tuesday night and then Redmond plays Skyline on Thursday night. We lost to Woodinville in a funky game, and it’s one of those things where you tell your girls that one loss could be detrimental.
“Now we sit here with one loss. They [Redmond and Skyline] sit there with no losses. It’s kind of a must-win game for us in a sense. Mathematically, it’s not, but if we want to do it on our own and not have other people help us, it’s an absolute must.”
For Bunnell and the Eagles, the road to the playoffs begins with Tuesday’s match at Redmond at 6 p.m.
Bunnell, who teaches business/marketing classes at Redmond High, is familiar with the Mustangs’ players and even has some in his classes.
The players are familiar with him as well.
“It doesn’t help that I teach at Redmond,” Bunnell said. “You know every year, I think everyone is fairly wise. Nobody wants to step on any toes. I encourage them right up to the last minute.
“You wish them luck.”
It’s an odd position for Bunnell when the pre-game hype starts.
“The assistant coach is in the building and she sent out a message to the staff to come out and enjoy a big game against Issaquah,” he said. “Then, at the assembly on Friday, the A.D. [athletic director] announced it and the kids were heckling me.
“Everyone treads lightly until it’s over. If we win, I don’t say anything. If they win, they come back by and give me some ha-has and some hee-hees.”
Eastlake fits into all three KingCo 4A contenders’ schedules the rest of the way.
“You can’t sit there and take Eastlake lightly just because they’ve always been good and they always have good players,” Bunnell said. “All of us have to face them, as well. So they could play the role of spoiler for one of us. Everybody else plays each other.
“It just doesn’t get easy for anybody at any point.”
Here are the schedules for the last three teams with a chance at winning the KingCo 4A regular-season title:
Issaquah (6-1-0, 18 points) – Tuesday at Redmond, 6 p.m.; Thursday vs. Eastlake, 6 p.m.; Tuesday, Oct. 23 vs. Skyline, 6 p.m.
Redmond (7-0-0, 21 points) – Tuesday vs. Issaquah, 6 p.m.; Thursday at Skyline, 6 p.m.; Tuesday, Oct. 23, vs. Eastlake, 6 p.m.
Skyline (7-0-0, 21 points) – Tuesday at Eastlake, 6 p.m.; Thursday vs. Redmond, 6 p.m.; Tuesday, Oct. 23 at Issaquah, 6 p.m.
Bunnell took over the Issaquah program in 2004 and his first match as head coach came against Redmond. He suffered a loss that day.
“We’ve had some really good games,” he said. “My only two losses to Redmond were preseason matches, and we’ve gotten them during the regular season. But my first game as the Issaquah coach in 2004 was right here and we lost. We won the state championship [in 3A] that year, so it was OK.”
Nine KingCo 4A teams have made state-championship appearances out of a maximum of 22 since 2001. The conference has six state champs out of 10 title matches since 2002.
Issaquah senior Audrey Thomas leads KingCo 4A in scoring with 35 points on 14 goals and seven assists heading into the stretch run.
Girl makes boys team stronger
With no girls soccer team to play on, Becca McDonald wanted a place to show her skills. She petitioned to join the Class 2B Tacoma Baptist boys soccer team this fall and gained approval.
McDonald, a senior forward who lives in Dash Point near Federal Way, has been more than a welcomed addition to the squad. Her production has been uncanny and timely. Last week in three matches, she has tallied a pair of game-winning goals amongst her seven goals for the Crusaders.
She has 13 goals this season as Tacoma Baptist, a member of the Sea-Tac 2B/1B League, ran its record to 8-0-1 after three wins last week.
“When she started playing with the boys team, I would’ve been happy if she got one goal,” said Craig McDonald, Becca’s father. “I didn’t know what to expect from her playing with the boys, a team that had been to state. It’s been kind of surreal.”
McDonald tallied the game-winning goal in the 75th minute in a 3-2 win over Providence of Lynnwood on Saturday.
“I think the boys really respect her ability,” her father said. “When she scores a goal, there’s a lot of high-fives. One time, in a really big game against Bear Creek, one of the guys picked her up and spun her around after a goal.
“They treat her like she’s one of the boys, but she’s pretty feminine and petite.”
McDonald played girls soccer as a sophomore at Tacoma Baptist when the school last had a team in 2010. She ran cross country instead last fall and took 17th overall with a time of 20:55 for 5,000 meters at the 1B/2B state meet.
Last spring, McDonald helped both the Crusaders’ 400 and 800 relay teams to state titles at the 2B meet and took second in both the 100 meters (12.73 seconds) and 200 (25.79).
She was also named the school’s Homecoming queen this fall.
Metro League 3A races
With a home win over West Seattle on Tuesday, the Nathan Hale girls soccer team (9-0-0, 27 points) can lock up at least a share of the Metro League 3A Sound Division title and the outright No. 1 seed into the playoffs.
The Raiders already beat West Seattle once by a 4-3 count on Sept. 18 with two late goals after trailing 3-2. After Tuesday’s match, they have just two games remaining.
West Seattle (8-1-0, 24 points) has a chance at the division crown, but must beat the Raiders to have that chance.
In the Mountain Division, two-time defending Class 3A state champion Seattle Prep is in for a fight to the finish with Bainbridge.
Bainbridge (7-1-0, 21 points) lead the Panthers (5-0-4, 19 points) but lost to Prep at home 3-2 on Sept. 18.
Prep hosts the Spartans on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at Miller Playfield in a match that likely will decide the Mountain champion.
The Panthers close out Metro play in the showdown with the Spartans.
Bainbridge finishes league play on Thursday at Eastside Catholic in a 5 p.m. kickoff.
Around the Area
Tahoma, ranked No. 1 in 4A, moved into a tie for No. 9 from No. 11 in the Top 25 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) national poll for Oct. 2, 2012. Issaquah, ranked No. 4 in 4A, stayed in the “also receiving votes” category. Here’s the Oct. 9 poll below:
Games to Watch
Here are this week’s top matchups:
Tuesday, Oct. 16 – KingCo 4A, No. 4 Issaquah at Redmond, 7:30 p.m.; WesCo 4A South Division, Cascade (Everett) at No. 8 Edmonds-Woodway, 7:30 p.m.; WesCo 3A South Division, Shorewood at No. 1 Meadowdale (Edmonds Stadium), 7:30 p.m.; Metro League 3A Mountain Division, No. 6 Bainbridge at No. 3 Seattle Prep (Miller Playfield), 3:30 p.m.; SPSL 3A, No. 9 Enumclaw at Auburn Mountainview, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 17 – South Puget Sound League (SPSL) North 4A, Kentwood at Kentlake (French Field), 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 18 – SPSL North 4A, No. 1 Tahoma at Kentridge (French Field), 3:30 p.m.; SPSL South 4A, No. 9 Puyallup at Emerald Ridge, 7:30 p.m.; KingCo 4A, Redmond at No. 3 Skyline, 6 p.m.; Metro League 3A Mountain Division, No. 6 Bainbridge at Eastside Catholic, 5 p.m.; KingCo 3A/2A, No. 7 Mercer Island at No. 10 Liberty (Issaquah), 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 20 – SPSL South 4A, Federal Way at Curtis, 7:30 p.m.
Here are The Seattle Times 2012 rankings for Class 4A, 3A and 2A for Week 7 (current 2012 record in parentheses):
Class 4A, 3A & 2A girls soccer state rankings – Week 7
1, Tahoma (Maple Valley) (11-0-0)
2, Gig Harbor (8-0-1)
3, Skyline (Sammamish) (11-0-2)
4, Issaquah (12-1-0)
5, Davis (Yakima) (13-0-0)
6, Union (Vancouver) (10-1-1)
7, Camas (10-1-1)
8, Edmonds-Woodway (11-1-0)
9, Puyallup (10-1-1)
10, Central Valley (Spokane) (10-1-0)
On the bubble: Olympia (6-2-2), Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma) (7-2-2), Kentwood (Covington) (7-2-2), Gonzaga Prep (Spokane) (9-3-1), Mead (Spokane) (7-3-0), Kentridge (8-2-2), South Kitsap (5-2-3), Redmond (9-3-1), Skyview (Vancouver) (7-3-3), Snohomish (9-3-1), Inglemoor (6-4-2), Curtis (9-1-2), Cascade (Everett) (8-1-3), Moses Lake (5-2-0), Federal Way (6-0-6), Chiawana (Pasco) (10-3-0) Richland (9-4-0), Rogers (Puyallup) (6-4-2), Jackson (Mill Creek) (5-3-2), Kamiak (Mukilteo) (6-4-2).
1, Meadowdale (Lynnwood) (11-0-0)
2, Mount Spokane (12-0-0)
3, Seattle Prep (9-1-5)
4, Everett (10-1-1)
5, Kamiakin (Kennewick) (12-1-1)
6, Bainbridge (12-1-0)
7, Mercer Island (10-1-1)
8, Columbia River (10-1-1)
9, Enumclaw (10-2-0)
10, Liberty (Issaquah) (9-3-0)
On the bubble: Interlake (Bellevue) (7-2-3), Auburn Mountainview (6-4-1), Mount Si (7-4-1), Eastside Catholic (5-5-1), Holy Names (7-5-1), Bishop Blanchet (7-5-3), Shorecrest (8-2-2), Kennedy Catholic (8-3-1), Bonney Lake (6-4-1), Hanford (9-3-0), University (Spokane) (8-3-0), Hazen (7-3-1), Nathan Hale (9-4-0).
1, Sumner (12-0-0)
2, West Valley (Yakima) (13-0-0)
3, Archbishop Murphy (Everett) (13-0-0)
4, Sehome (Bellingham) (12-0-1)
5, Klahowya (Silverdale) (13-0-0)
6, Pullman (12-1-0)
7, Squalicum (Bellingham) (11-1-1)
8, Black Hills (10-2-0)
9, Burlington (12-2-0)
10, Capital (Olympia) (10-3-1)
On the bubble: Fife (9-2-0), West Valley (Spokane) (9-3-0), W.F. West (Chehalis) (11-1-0), Cedarcrest (Duvall) (7-6-0), Hockinson (9-3-1), Ephrata (11-2-0), Tumwater (7-5-0), Ridgefield (6-4-1), White River (Buckley) (6-5-0), North Kitsap (Poulsbo) (8-2-1).