In this edition of “The Full 80,” a look at 4A first-round matchup of familiar state foes Skyline and Tahoma.
Skyline faces familiar road block in Tahoma in first round
The march to states wouldn’t be complete for Skyline if Tahoma wasn’t on the bracket. During three of the Spartans’ four Class 4A state-title runs, Tahoma was always an opponent.
The matchups have become battles and have been very spirited in the past.
Familiar foes meet again on Wednesday as fourth-ranked Skyline (12-2-2) hosts a depleted Tahoma (11-4-3) squad at 7:30 p.m. in the first round of the 4A state tournament.
The last meeting of the two schools in 2012 produced a 2-1 semifinal result for Skyline en route to 4A state crown. Tahoma came into that match at No. 7 nationally. In a 2011 title run, the Spartans topped Tahoma 2-0 in the semis. In 2009 Skyline beat the Bears 1-0 in the first round on the way to title. In 2010, Tahoma spoiled the Spartans’ title hopes with 1-0 triumph in the state semis. The Spartans entered as the top-ranked team in the country.
“For us, the most important thing is that we respect the Tahoma team and know that they are a strong side,” Skyline coach Don Braman said. “They are very good at competing in loser-out games. They’ve have experience with that and found their way through. For the girls, we need to focus on the task at hand and not get ahead of ourselves.
“We need to focus on doing our very best and playing at our top level.”
Tahoma has won three state titles in 4A in 2005, 2001 and 1986.
Oddly enough they just can’t avoid each other in the state bracket over the years. The upcoming match will be the fifth state-playoff meeting between Tahoma and Skyline in the last six seasons.
“It seems like we do draw each other more than any other two teams I’ve seen in the state brackets over the years,” Tahoma coach Jason Johnson said. “We’ve played each other more than anybody in the state tournament it seems. I just don’t get that.”
The Bears enter Wednesday’s meeting down three regulars as a result of athletic code violations last week. This will be the third match without those regulars, and Tahoma is coming off a 2-1 win over Jefferson and a 2-0 decision over Curtis.
“We had to re-evaluate some positions because of some girls missing, of course,” Johnson said. “It’s affected everybody a lot less than I thought it would. My girls have been really flexible all season. We’ve been working on handling situations as they come. We’ve had some injuries throughout the year.”
Now, the reward is tradition-rich Skyline.
“I expect a lot of the same from them,” Johnson said. “They’re super well coached. They are very technical and very organized and disciplined in their shape. “It’s very hard to break them down defensively. That’s where I think they’re strongest.”
The Spartans scheduled tough out of conference matches and then faced their always difficult KingCo 4A slate.
“We had as hard of a preseason as we could have, especially when you look at the teams we played and where they fared in the standing of their league,” Braman said. “We knew it was going to be difficult. The intent was to have tough games that were going to make us better.”
Skyline beat Mount Si 2-1 on Oct. 27 to win the tiebreaker for the No. 2 seed out of KingCo 4A. Then, the Spartans stepped up their game on Nov. 3 and beat KingCo 4A regular-season champion Issaquah 2-0 in the KingCo 4A title match.
Now, a very familiar face shows up in the state opener. Skyline owns a 3-1 edge in the previous state showdowns.
“We need to bring our absolute best to that game,” Braman said.
Link to girls soccer state information (WIAA Tournament Central):
State bracket index (WIAA):
Around the Area
One team from Washington state – Issaquah tied at No. 11 — remained in the Top 25 of the national rankings from National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Below is the NSCAA’s Nov. 4 poll (the next poll is out today, Nov. 11):
Three teams from Washington are in the NSCAA Region VI Top 15 rankings, led by Issaquah at No. 2 and followed by Skyline of Sammamish at No. 8 and Seattle Prep at No. 11. The link below is for the Region VI, which came out Nov. 4 (the next poll is out today, Nov. 11):
Five teams from Washington state – Issaquah at No. 10, Kentridge at No. 17, Skyline of Sammamish at No. 26, Bellevue at No. 27 and Seattle Prep at No. 44 – are currently in the Fall FAB 50 High School Girls Soccer Rankings from Nov. 4 put out by www.topdrawersoccer.com (the next poll is out today, Nov. 11):