PUYALLUP, Wash. – There’s no one else Alyssa Lloyd would have wanted to line up with for a shot at the State 3A girls soccer title.
It was clear her allegiance was with second-ranked Mt. Spokane and she swelled with pride even in defeat.
Lloyd, one of six seniors, gave the Wildcats hope with an equalizing goal in the 35th minute, but No. 4 Columbia River claimed the crown with a 2-1 triumph on Saturday at Sparks Stadium.
Mt. Spokane’s dream of a perfect season ended with a bitter defeat despite dominating the second half. The Wildcats finished 20-1-0 and made school history with their first trip to the final four.
“Everybody just worked their hearts out, and I’m just proud of the girls,” said Lloyd, a forward. “Everybody just worked for everybody all year. In the first half, if we would’ve maybe had a little more heart, as much as we did in the second half, it could’ve been a changed game.
“We’re still really happy, but it’s hard because we almost had a perfect season.”
Columbia River had the most chances early and finally broke through in the 26th minute on sophomore Marion Lilly’s sliding shot from 6 yards. Lilly broke free up the left side of the field after a pass from Julia Drury and slid the ball past goalkeeper Shannon McReynolds just inside the right post.
Lloyd converted a 15-yard half-volley into the left corner of the net as the Wildcats tied the match at 1-1 in the 35th minute. Lloyd collected the loose ball and fired it in on one hop after Sydney Nelson sent a corner kick into a crowded goalmouth. The ball caromed out to the feet of Lloyd, who scored her 11th goal of the season.
“It is kind of frustrating, but there’s got to be a winner and there’s got to be a loser,” Lloyd said. “If you put it all out on the field, and something does bounce in crazy, you still feel like you’re winners.”
Columbia River (19-0-2) went back in front 2-1 when sophomore midfielder Emily Heaton cracked home an 18-yard blast off a defensive clearance in the 36th minute.
Danika Martin boomed a 28-yard shot off the top of the crossbar and back into play in the 61st minute for Mt. Spokane.
“I’m absolutely proud of my girls, 100 percent,” said Mt. Spokane coach Ryan Campanella. “They’ve done something that no one in our school has ever done before. I think we represented the east side of Washington very well. I felt like we dominated a lot of the second half, especially down the stretch.
“They did everything I asked them to do, and I couldn’t be prouder.”
Of Heaton’s game-deciding strike, Campanella said: “These games it comes down to inches, all of the inches of the field.”