Wildcat soccer season abruptly ends

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SNOQUALMIE - The Mount Si Wildcats girls soccer team closed out their regular season home schedule with a 1-1 tie against the Newport Knights last Tuesday at Snoqualmie Ridge. The team played well but the tie was a disappointing end to the season.

"I think everybody just wanted it so bad. It's too bad that we let a goal by. Everybody has a lot of heart on this team, so we tried our hardest," said Wildcat midfielder Shannon Posey, one of several seniors playing their last home game as Wildcats.

The tie was disappointing on two fronts, the first of which was a lost playoff berth. Had the Wildcats won and Bellevue lost, which they did last Tuesday to Sammamish, the Wildcats would have clinched the final berth to the Kingco playoffs.

Secondly, the tie also came thanks to a late second-half goal by Newport junior forward Courteney Meehan, which resulted from a Mount Si defensive breakdown.

"I thought we played great, but just couldn't put the ball in tonight and we had that one lapse and that's been kind of like our season," said Wildcat coach Darren Brown. "We've had that one ball that got through on us, like it did Bellevue, like it did Mercer Island, like it did Issaquah. And when that happened, that one lapse is all it takes, we could be a 9-1, or a 10-1 team instead of where we're sitting now."

Mount Si and the Knights ended the first half tied at 0-0, then freshman Mariana Zanella, who showed no lasting signs of her knee injury suffered against Issaquah, took a pass from defender Jordan Tipton, broke away from the Newport defense and fired a shot into the back of the net early in the second half, giving the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. Then Meehan's goal occurred, with less than five minutes left in regulation. Newport, sensing renewed life, let their goaltender junior Rachel Croft take over and she did not disappoint. She made several spectacular saves late in the game to preserve the tie.

Knights' coach Michael Smith praised his players for playing a strong spoiler role since Newport also beat the Wolverines in their previous game.

"We dug ourselves in a hole early in the season and weren't finishing goals and we got losses because of it," Smith said. "We continue to battle each time and the second half of the season it's going our way and we are getting some goals and we're able to battle with teams, so it's working for us."

The Wildcats last Thursday went to Mercer Island with hopes of at least forcing a tiebreaker game with the Wolverines, but the Islanders, with their own dreams of a Kingco title and automatic state berth on the line, outplayed Mount Si for much of the game en route to a 3-0 win.

The Wildcat loss, combined with an expected Bellevue win over last place Interlake, sent Mount Si home for the season with a 7-5-2 conference record, 7-7-2 overall.

"We came out flat. Mercer Island came at us with more aggression and more intensity and we couldn't do it," said Brown.

Islanders freshman Brooke Bourguinon scored off a corner kick in the seventh minute and then Mercer Island sophomore forward Lauren Govier scored in the 28th minute. Senior Islander midfielder Jenn Doane scored on an odd-man breakaway in the 70th minute to seal things. Issaquah won their match against Liberty, so Mercer Island, despite their win, still clinched second place, with the Eagles winning the Kingco regular season title and an automatic berth to the state tournament.

Brown is disappointed with the abrupt ending, especially since the Wildcats had a hold on third place for much of the season.

"It was a good season. I love these girls. They're an awesome bunch and that's what hurts me the most, is knowing that we're done," Brown said.

Next year, many of the team's starters return, but a couple of holes will need to be filled with the departure of a few seniors; among them are offensive threat Whitney Chelgren, the hard-working Shannon Posey and key reserve Amy Trenkamp. Brown knows that they need to play next season with a purpose.

"I think we got to come back with the same thing we did this year and that's to go far in the playoffs. We'll use this as our fuel. This game we'll never forget and I'm going to use this as an example for awhile," Brown said.

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