In this edition of “The Full 80,” we’ll look at how Holy Names girls soccer bounced back from early-season illness and injuries to claim the Metro title and how an experienced Tahoma team, No. 1 in Class 4A, is seeking its third consecutive Final Four appearance and first state title since 2005.
As always, this week’s big matchups – it’s the first round of the state playoffs — and rankings can be found at the bottom of the post.
Holy Names rallies at the right time
Holy Names girls soccer coach Teddy Mitalas kept telling his players to be patient and their time would come again.
With early-season sickness and injuries prevailing, it took a while for the Cougars to start cooking up victories regularly.
The Cougars have done an about-face of late, just in time for the state playoffs.
With Thursday’s 3-2 come-from-behind win over rival Seattle Prep in the Metro League championship, it gave Holy Names’ 10 seniors bookend league tournament titles. Those seniors all were freshman who helped the Cougars win the Metro crown in 2009.
Holy Names finished 4-4-2 for third place in the Metro Mountain Division, but is unbeaten in its last seven matches, going 6-0-1 in that stretch.
“I told the girls don’t worry about what happens during the season, and let’s worry about what happens at the end of the season,” said Mitalas, who credits long stamina-building runs every Friday during the season and a key position switch as the season reason for a turnaround. “We ended up getting everybody back who was injured and sick. All the girls came back for the second half of the season started, and we’ve been on a roll.
“They’re playing together, they are moving and they are helping each other out on the field.”
The seventh-ranked Cougars (13-5-2) open the Class 3A state tournament by hosting Peninsula on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in the first round.
Holy Names didn’t fare well against the top of the Metro’s powerful Mountain Division during the regular season, going 0-3-1 against champion Bainbridge (0-2-0) and runner-up Seattle Prep (0-1-1). The Cougars, however, turned the tables rallying from a pair of 2-1 deficits to beat Bainbridge 3-2 in the semifinals and Prep 3-2 in the Metro final.
“All the sicknesses hurt us early in the season, and Katie Chandler (10 goals), one of our strikers, was out,” Mitalas said. “And McKeznie Oliger one of our midfielders, was out with an ankle injury. We had senior captain leaders were off the field.
“Until we got healthy, I wasn’t worried. The only loss we had in the second half was to Bainbridge and we played well. The momentum is just turning for them now.”
One change that really helped Holy Names was Mitalas making a bold position move with freshman Annie Flora. He moved her from central defender to forward seven matches ago.
“We had her in the back, and decided to try something and put her up top,” said Mitalas, noting that Flora has 13 goals in those seven contests. “And, ever since we’ve done that, the team has changed. She’s a force. With her tenacity, the way she loves tackling and her speed, I just figured it might be a good fit.
“She’s been the heartbeat of our team as a freshman.”
Flora scored the final two goals – 50th and 68th minutes — in the semifinal rally against Bainbridge.
Holy Names hosts Peninsula on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium to open the Class 3A state playoffs. The Cougars are seeking the school’s second title in girls soccer, winning its only crown in 1999.
Bears hope to draw on Final Four experience
With Tahoma reaching the Final Four the last two seasons, it features a roster full of experience.
Jason Johnson hopes to use that high-level experience as driving force to a Class 4A state-title run for the top-ranked Bears.
“I think we’re playing really well,” Johnson said. “It seems to be a nice mixture of a little bit of butterflies and playing with confidence.
“I think we are handling [having the No. 1 target] well. I don’t feel like it’s a huge change for us, because we are always expected to do well. Tahoma’s always had pretty good soccer pedigree.”
Tahoma (18-0-0) comes into the state playoffs playing well, having registered four shutouts in a row. The Bears host Snohomish (12-4-2), the WesCo 4A North Division, in a Wednesday first-round match at Maxwell Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
“I’ve notice a lot more calmness about what we’re doing,” Johnson said. “We’ve played with patience, and been in some close games lately, so I think that can help us.”
A big factor in Tahoma reaching the 4A state semifinals last fall was midfielder Brie Hooks. The Bears were without Hooks in the Final Four as the creative distributor was attending an Olympic Development Program training event in Florida.
Hooks piled up 26 assists and nine goals in 2011 and has 23 assists and 15 goals in 2012 so far.
Johnson confirmed he’ll have the services of his most dynamic player if the Bears reach the Final Four for the third consecutive season.
“We’ve talked a lot about it, and she’ll be here for the finals,” Johnson said. “Brie knows our system as well as anybody. She gets so many people involved. She’s such a great passer.
“And, that helps having some amazing finishers. It’s nice to have a player like a point guard in basketball. She just puts out great passes for finishers.”
The Bears lost to Skyline 2-0 in the semifinals in 2011 and fell to South Puget Sound League rival Kentwood 1-0 in shootout in 2010.
“Absolutely we want to win a state title, but it’s not something we want to discuss too much, because we have things we want to accomplish in the short term,” Johnson said. “In this tournament anything can happen.”
Tahoma knows. The Bears beat Skyline, then No. 1 in the nation, in the 2010 semifinals by a 1-0 count.
Is 2A the Spartans’ tournament to lose?
Probably no other team has dominated opponents this season in the state like Sumner, ranked No. 1 in Class 2A.
The Spartans have piled up a 129-1 advantage in goals scored this season.
Sumner is a heavy favorite as the state playoffs begin on Tuesday. The Spartans (17-0-0) host Kingston (10-9) in a state opener on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Sunset Chev Stadium.
Sumner has registered nine goals or more nine times and scored 10 or more five times.
Around the Area
The Tahoma Bears, ranked No. 1 in 4A, remained in a tie for No. 7 in the Top 25 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) national poll for Oct. 23, 2012. Issaquah, ranked No. 5 in 4A, fell out of the “also receiving votes” category. Here’s the Oct. 23 poll below:
Games to Watch
Here are links to this week’s brackets for the state playoffs:
Class 4A girls (Final Four, Sparks Stadium, Nov. 16-17)
Class 3A girls (Final Four, Sparks Stadium, Nov. 16-17)
Class 2A girls (Final Four, Shoreline Stadium, Nov. 16-17)
Class 1A girls (Final Four, Shoreline Stadium, Nov. 16-17)
Class 1B/2B girls (Final Four, Sunset Chev Stadium, Sumner, Nov. 16-17)
Class 1B/2B boys (Final Four, Sunset Chev Stadium, Sumner, Nov. 16-17)
District/bi-district/league champions (No. 1 seeds to state)
Class 4A – Cascade (Everett), Redmond, Tahoma, Moses Lake, Central Valley (Spokane).
Class 3A – Bonney Lake, Meadowdale (Lynnwood), Liberty (Issaquah), Holy Names, Mount Spokane.
Class 2A – Sumner, Squalicum, West Valley (Yakima), W.F. West (Chehalis).
Class 1A – Seattle Christian, Cashmere, LaCenter, Naches Valley.
Class 1B/2B — LaConner or Crosspoint Academy, Orcas Island or Bear Creek.
Here are The Seattle Times 2012 rankings for Class 4A, 3A and 2A for Week 10 (current 2012 record in parentheses):
Class 4A, 3A & 2A girls soccer state rankings – Week 10 – final rankings
1, Tahoma (Maple Valley) (18-0-0)
2, Gig Harbor (13-0-1)
3, Union (Vancouver) (15-1-1)
4, Skyline (Sammamish) (13-1-3)
5, Issaquah (16-2-1)
6, Puyallup (14-2-2)
7, Cascade (Everett) (14-1-3)
8, Central Valley (Spokane) (13-2-0)
9, Moses Lake (14-4-0)
10, Redmond (11-4-2)
On the bubble: Camas (14-3-1), Davis (Yakima) (16-2-0), Edmonds-Woodway (12-5-1), Olympia (9-3-2), Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma) (8-6-3), Kentwood (Covington) (10-5-3), Gonzaga Prep (Spokane) (10-6-1), Mead (Spokane) (12-4-0), Kentridge (12-4-2), South Kitsap (9-4-3), Skyview (Vancouver) (8-5-4), Snohomish (12-4-2), Curtis (12-2-4), Federal Way (9-2-6), Richland (12-4-0), Rogers (Puyallup) (9-7-2), Kamiak (Mukilteo) (12-6-2), Emerald Ridge (Puyallup) (9-6-1), Garfield (8-6-3), Inglemoor (8-5-3).
1, Meadowdale (Lynnwood) (19-0-0)
2, Mount Spokane (17-0-0)
3, Kamiakin (Kennewick) (15-2-1)
4, Columbia River (15-0-2)
5, Liberty (Issaquah) (12-3-1)
6, Bainbridge (14-2-1)
7, Holy Names (13-5-2)
8, Mercer Island (14-3-2)
9, Seattle Prep (11-2-6)
10, Bonney Lake (12-4-1)
On the bubble: Everett (14-4-1), Enumclaw (13-5-0), Interlake (Bellevue) (11-3-4), Auburn Mountainview (9-6-1), Mount Si (10-5-2), Shorecrest (13-4-3), Kennedy Catholic (13-5-1), Hanford (9-6-0), University (Spokane) (10-6-0), Hazen (10-3-1), Nathan Hale (12-7-0), Wilson (Tacoma) (10-4-2), Timberline (10-0-2), Hazen (12-5-1).
1, Sumner (17-0-0)
2, West Valley (Yakima) (18-0-0)
3, Pullman (18-1-0)
4, Squalicum (Bellingham) (17-1-1)
5, Archbishop Murphy (Everett) (19-1-0)
6, Sehome (Bellingham) (17-1-1)
7, W.F. West (Chehalis) (17-1-0)
8, North Kitsap (Poulsbo) (15-2-1)
9, Klahowya (Silverdale) (17-2-0)
10, Fife (13-3-0)
On the bubble: Black Hills (12-6-0), Burlington (14-6-0), Capital (Olympia) (12-7-1), West Valley (Spokane) (13-5-0), Hockinson (14-5-1), Ephrata (13-7-0), Tumwater (12-6-0), Ridgefield (10-7-1), White River (Buckley) (8-7-0), Prosser (12-8-0), Ellensburg (9-7-0), Selah (10-8-0).