In this edition of “The Full 80,” a look at surprise 4A Final-Four party crasher Jackson.
Timberwolves hit their stride at the right time
During the regular season, the Jackson High School girls soccer team struggled at times to find its feet and identity in WesCo 4A. A late-season loss to second-place Snohomish nearly cost them.
Now, the Timberwolves are a team on the rise.
The Timberwolves (15-4-1), who emerged on top of WesCo 4A, are clicking currently, and they are one of Class 4A’s Final Four. They are 9-1-1 in their last 11 matches and peaking perfectly.
Jackson will be put to the test in Friday’s 4A state semifinals against four-time state titlist Skyline (14-2-2) in a 6 p.m. match at Puyallup’s Sparks Stadium.
The Spartans won 4A state crowns in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012 and made six appearances in the Final Four in the last eight seasons and eight Final Fours overall.
The task won’t be easy against the fourth-ranked team in 4A. The Wolves were fourth in 4A in 2008, third in 2005 and fourth in 2004 for the school’s best state finishes.
Is there a better one in store? Jackson fell to Skyline 4-0 in a nonleague match to open the 2014 season on Sept. 9.
“It’s definitely going to be tough, and Skyline’s always a good team year in and year out,” said Jackson coach Jesslyn Kellerman, a player on Seattle Pacific University’s NCAA Division II national championship team in 2008. “Having played them earlier in the season, we have a little bit of an idea about them.
“We’ve improved as a team and they’ve improved as a team since that time. When we played them, we were still figuring out the system to play in and we played some really young players in a big game.”
The Timberwolves reached state for the third time in four seasons and have reeled off three postseason wins in a row, including a first-round 2-1 overtime shootout state win over Curtis and a quarterfinal triumph over South Kitsap 2-0.
The win over Curtis snapped a five-match losing streak in state play. Now, Skyline awaits.
“We are really looking forward to a rematch,” said Kellerman, the Wolves’ third-year coach. “The biggest thing is we are more focused now. We have better idea about our system and where the runs should be and where to be off the ball.
“Really, the girls have so much more determination and heart.”
Jackson appears to be the perfect blend of offensive firepower, midfield creativity and strong defending.
A trio of All-WesCo first-team selections make up the strength of the team – junior forward Drew Locknane, junior midfielder Madison Cooley and senior defender Lynnae George.
Locknane leads the Timberwolves with 38 points on 18 goals and two assists. Eight of Locknane’s clutch goals were game-winners.
Cooley, a team captain, has 15 points on four goals and seven assists.
George, also a captain, has notched 12 points on five goals and two assists while leading a back line that has given up 0.080 goals against all season and recorded 11 shutouts.
Link to girls soccer state information (WIAA Tournament Central):
State bracket index (WIAA):
Around the Area
One team from Washington state – Skyline of Sammamish at No. 18 — remained in the Top 25 of the national rankings from National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Below is the NSCAA’s Nov. 11 poll (the next poll is out today, Nov. 18):
Three teams from Washington are in the NSCAA Region VI Top 15 rankings, led by Skyline at No. 3 and followed by Issaquah at No. 6 and Bellevue at No. 14. The link below is for the Region VI, which came out Nov. 11 (the next poll is out today, Nov. 18):
Four teams from Washington state – Kentridge at No. 11, Skyline at No. 21, Issaquah at No. 22 and Bellevue at No. 25 – are currently in the Fall FAB 50 High School Girls Soccer Rankings from Nov. 11 put out by www.topdrawersoccer.com (the next poll is out today, Nov. 18):