It wasn’t an ideal way to end the regular season. In fact, it was a heartbreaking one.
After battling Mountain View to a 1-1 stalemate over the first 80 minutes, Kelso relented an own goal in the 82nd, handing the Thunder a 2-1 extra time win and the 3A Greater St. Helens League title at a bitingly cold Schroeder Field on Tuesday.
“I think that this is our best game of the season,” Lassies coach Kemal Vejo said.
Kelso (10-5-1, 8-2-0) set a school record for league wins with eight. Mountain View (13-3-0, 9-1-0) has a few extra days off as the GSHL No. 1. Kelso has to turn around and play Saturday and gets Wilson.
Mountain View got the goal when Thunder senior received a pass with her back to the goal, fake left, spun back right and beat two Lassies into the box.
She turned back in toward the goal in a very dangerous place and sent in a sharp cross, but it never made it into the six-yard box.
Instead, it bounced off Kelso sophomore Adalie Schierscher, giving freshman keeper Tara Liebe no shot to save.
Kelso’s players immediately felt the heartbreak while Mountain View’s players took a second to realize what happened before celebrating.
“We made a mistake at the end,” Vejo said. “We knew that (Fothergill) is a good player and slept over there and she punished us.”
The brief excitement in the extra period came after a slogging second half, one which featured noticeably less energy than the frenetic first 40 minutes.
Mountain View took early control, dominating possession and striking first blood.
The Thunder got the first set piece opportunity in the 14th minute, when Mountain View got a corner kick.
Alexis Sadler sent in a lovely ball that kicked around for a second and got to Kylie Ellett alone in the box, and she buried one into the bottom left corner. Liebe, who was caught in traffic in the box, had no chance.
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But Kelso’s offense wrestled control away from the Thunder shortly after and the Lassies started to pepper Waverly Iverson in goal with shots, though most were from deep and were easily corralled by Iverson.
Kelso’s offensive pressure yielded the equalizer in the 26th minute when Ashlee Bakunowicz found Hanna Bern who buried one into the side net.
“That made my senior night,” Matisyn Ohlson said. “That was the best, to be honest. It made everyone’s night. If we would’ve scored (in extra time) I don’t know what I would’ve done.”
It was one of the few times that Kelso got into the 18, and six-yard box, instead setting for those long shot attempts.
Iverson finished with 15 saves, 10 of which came in the first half.
Vejo said he would’ve like to see more patience, allowing the offense to get deeper, but he conceded it’s been awhile since Kelso played in such an important match.
“They were impatient,” Vejo said. “They were just trying to shoot from everywhere. We have an inexperienced team, this is the first time they’re playing a match like this. I think many girls were putting too much pressure on themselves.
“That’s something we didn’t want. We wanted to possess. We built our offense by possessing.”
Even though it was an emotional and disappointing ending, it doesn’t ruin what was already a stellar season.
There’s the No. 2 seed entering the West Central District 3/Southwest District 4 Tournament. There’s the school record.
And so, Kelso heads into the playoffs with internal momentum, though its regular season finale wasn’t ideal.
“I think (Wednesday) we will bring it at practice and be better and ready for Saturday,” Ohlson said.