The Curtis girls soccer team has lived with a target on its back all season after advancing to the state quarterfinals last year. Unbeaten through nine league matches and sitting alone in first place, the Vikings couldn’t maintain their momentum against Todd Beamer, surrendering two late goals to fall 2-0 to the Titans on Oct. 10.
“We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities tonight,” said Curtis head coach Frank Hankel. “The small things make big differences, and we saw that tonight. The girls have to understand that. Despite being in first right now, we can’t let our foot off the gas pedal. Everybody wants to win the league, and everybody is gunning for us right now.”
The Vikings had several golden opportunities to strike on the night, none better than in the 27th minute. Sophomore forward Morgan Weaver tracked down a long through pass from Maddy Parry on the left sideline and found an open Meghan Hillis in front of the box, but Hillis’ shot sailed just over goal. The teams went to the half scoreless, as Vikings keeper Sierra Miller recorded several solid saves to keep Curtis level.
Curtis continued to test Todd Beamer keeper Casey Woerhle early in the second half, but the Titans senior stepped up to deflect shots by Lexsi Manning in the 43rd minute and Taylor Currin in the 59th minute. Amanda Ellinghaus nearly put the Vikings ahead in the 63rd minute, leaping for a header in front of goal off Manning’s cross, but Woerhle deflected it over goal. The Titans struck in the 76th minute on senior Megan Anderson’s header off a corner kick, and freshman Ameera Hussen caught Curtis’ defense with a counterattack goal four minutes later to seal it.
“When you get a lot of attention, and you have a young team like we do, sometimes you need something to humble them,” Hankel said. “My hope is we look at this game and we say ‘Gosh, we don’t want this again.’”
The Vikings responded with a 1-0 win over Emerald Ridge on Oct. 15 to remain in first in the SPSL 4A South.
FALCONS’ STRONG SECOND HALF TOPS THUNDERBIRDS
All season, Foss has been battling injuries and inconsistency that have derailed hopes of building off their first-ever playoff appearance. But the Falcons strung together their second straight solid performance on Oct. 15, rallying for two second-half goals for a 2-0 win at Mount Tahoma.
“They stick with it,” said Foss head coach Mark Kramer. “It’s been coming through that way. They play better in the second half than they do in the first half.”
Junior Victorya Fairchild got the Falcons on the board in the 58th minute, taking a pass from around 20 yards out and firing a low shot that was redirected into the goal by a Thunderbird defender. Junior defender Chiyoko Ivery made it 2-0 in the 72nd minute, outracing Mount Tahoma’s defense from midfield and slamming a shot into the right netting.
“At halftime I told them we just have to manufacture the goal,” Kramer said. “Wherever you’re at, know where our strong players are, and be aware where you need to make your runs.”
Junior Sara Santana had a couple of chances to strike early for Foss, but Thunderbirds keeper Nina Thach deflected her shots in the second and 15th minutes. Thach came up big again late in the half, charging up to block a shot from Jennifer Dittell in the top of the box in the 35th minute. The Thunderbirds had a golden opportunity to dent the scoreboard in the 49th minute when sophomore Jalissa Somers got loose in the left corner, but her shot was deflected out by Foss freshman keeper Meagan Kamberger.
The Falcons were spurred on by the return of all-league defender Jessica Orozco, while Kramer noted that senior captain Tyfanni Chin has continued to be solid in leading the defense.
“We didn’t have our offensive punch, but our defense is solid now,” Kramer said. After posting a 2-0 shutout against Lincoln in their previous match, the Falcons moved to 2-4-1 in league to cling to slim playoff hopes. Mount Tahoma dropped just below Foss with a 2-5 record in league play.