Timing really is everything.
During the regular season, the Pullman Greyhounds found themselves on top of the Great Northern League standings, while the East Valley Knights finished second – losing both times the teams met.
The tables turned – albeit by a slim margin – when the Knights finally beat Pullman in a one-goal game for the district title on Nov. 1.
The Knights’ turnaround continued Saturday afternoon as Kendra Morscheck, McKaylin Hughes and Sydney Sol all scored shootout goals in the host Knights’ 1-0 victory over Pullman in the Washington State 2A girls soccer playoffs.
“We’ve overcome a lot of obstacles this season,” East Valley coach Gabe Escobar said. “There’s something about when these two teams meet – it’s always a tough game. I expected nothing less from them. I can’t say enough about Pullman – they didn’t give us much in this game. It took a shootout, but we did it and we’re thrilled.”
Both teams struggled to generate offense through regulation and both overtimes. East Valley (15-6) recorded just five shots, while Pullman (16-6) finished with three.
In the shootout, Morscheck got the Knights started with a quick shot into the left corner, to which Pullman’s Hannah Adams responded by burying her shot in the right corner.
East Valley’s next attempt was wide, allowing Pullman to take a 2-1 lead on Becky Birchett’s shot – but that was the last time Pullman would find the back of the net.
After Hughes tied the shootout at 2-all, Knights goalkeeper Caitlin MacFarlane stopped Pullman’s next attempt and the Greyhounds’ next two shots bounced off the posts. Sol then scored in the final round and MacFarlane watched as Pullman’s attempt sailed wide.
“I was just thinking about my grandpa – I wish he was here to see this,” MacFarlane said. “We’ve struggled with Pullman – and to come out and beat them, especially in a shootout, when we’ve struggled in shootouts, is amazing.”
Though the shootout loss was a difficult way to end the season, Pullman coach Doug Winchell noted his team’s success. The Greyhounds only lose three seniors off this year’s roster, and will be competitive again next season.
“I’m not disappointed in how we played – we certainly extended some pressure on them,” he said. “For us to win the league title, to be the state academic champs, to make it to the second round of state for the fourth time in school history – it’s all been a good season.
“It’s hard to end this way. My keeper touches two balls and we hit three posts – it’s just what it is. That’s how this games goes. My congratulations go out to East Valley – I hope they represent us well in the final four.”
The Knights will face Cedarcrest – a 3-2 quarterfinal winner over Sehome – in a State 2A semifinal on Saturday at Shoreline Stadium in Seattle.