Wildcats split week on pitch

SNOQUALMIE - The Mount Si Wildcats inched closer to a playoff berth last week by beating the Interlake Saints 3-1 at Interlake.

Sophomore Mariana Zanella continued her hot play of late, scoring another goal and adding an assist. Jessica Oliver and Amy Torget also added goals to the effort. Interlake's goal was scored by Brynn Watanabe on a penalty kick.

For Mount Si to clinch, they also needed Issaquah to beat Newport. That, surprisingly, didn't happen as the Knights won 1-0. The Wildcats went into last Thursday knowing that either a win or a Newport loss or tie would put them into the playoffs.

The challenge for Mount Si going into their contest with Issaquah was to stop the top players from the Eagles; Kate Deines, Lauren Maris and Lindsey Kasser.

"When you have three dynamic players like that in your starting lineup, you need to mark well and limit their touches or one mistake can be a point on the board," said Mount Si coach Darren Brown.

In the first half, the Wildcats were able to do just that, but it all changed in the second half. First was a goal from Sarah Taussig off a broken defensive play in the 41st minute. Deines assisted that goal. Then Deines, a sophomore phenomenon who has been deadly against Mount Si this season, scored one herself in the 45th minute; Kasser was credited with an assist. Lauren Leale then sealed things in the 67th minute with an unassisted goal and the Eagles walked out of Mount Si's stadium with a 3-0 win over the Wildcats that clinched the Kingco regular season title for Issaquah. Ball movement was key for the Eagles.

"Our ball movement was where we wanted it tonight, not trying to be too fancy, and just trying to press and move the ball quickly," said Issaquah coach Tom Bunnell, who also had some interesting comments about the quality of the Wildcat squad compared to some other Kingco teams.

"They [Wildcats] are the toughest team defensively that we play, so it's difficult," said Bunnell.

All hope was not lost for Mount Si, however, as Newport's loss to Bellevue enabled the Wildcats to achieve something they failed to do last season: make the playoffs. While the seeding is still uncertain, the fact that they're in is clearly a refreshing development.

"The girls have worked hard all season and understand that this season is a golden opportunity for them," said Brown.

"We just need to go into this week and take care of business and we'll be just fine,' the Mount Si coach added.

Mount Si will have a lot to say not only about where they end up in the playoffs, but who will nab the fourth, and final, spot. The Wildcats played at Newport Tuesday and host Mercer Island Thursday. Both the Knights and Islanders, along with Sammamish, are fighting for that fourth Kingco playoff spot. The Islander game is senior night for the girls soccer program, and the team will be honoring four players that have been anchors defensively for a long time in this program: Jordan Tipton, Krisi Lund, Collette Hatch and Kali Roestel. All four are team co-captains this season, so their efforts have been valuable on a number of levels.

Game time is 7:30 p.m., Thursday at Mount Si, and the Kingco 3A playoffs are next Tuesday and Thursday. Should Mount Si end up in second place, they would have two shots at state: first, Tuesday at Issaquah, then if they need the second chance, at home next Thursday against the winner of the 3-4 match. If the Wildcats make state, which is a good possibility, Mount Si would play a Northwest District opponent in the first round, which means they could face Valley rival Cedarcrest.

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