Girls soccer advances to semifinals
Last updated 11/7/2023 at 12:39pm
The Lady Outlaw soccer squad defeated St. Mary's in the quarterfinals of the state tournament at home in Sisters on Saturday, November 4. Coach Brain Holden told The Nugget he believes this is the first time in approximately 16 years that the Outlaws have made it to the semifinals. They were to travel over the hill and face No. 1 Valley Catholic in the semifinals on Tuesday, November 7.
Both teams battled hard. In the 25th minute Sisters got their first goal. The ball was mis-cleared by the St. Mary's defense, and Juhree Kizziar found the ball and tapped it in for the score to give the Outlaws a 1-0 lead. That score held until halftime.
Five minutes into the second half, Coach Holden told The Nugget the Outlaws scored one of their best goals of the season because of the vision and generosity of the players.
Zoee Bafford, on the right side, found the midfield, made a pass to Kizziar, who shifted the ball to Marley Holden, who then kept the momentum going and swung the ball over to Ella Davis. Davis fed the ball in front of the goal to Ella Eby, who tapped it in to the back post.
Holden said, "It's prideful as a coach to see the girls move the ball that quickly. For them to switch the field out of pressure and within seconds be an offensive threat on the other side of the field is pretty soccer."
Ten minutes later, Kizziar scored her second goal of the game from a Katie Ryan assist and pushed the Outlaws to a 3-0 lead.
In the 70th minute Kizziar scored, thanks to an Ella Davis assist and recorded a playoff hat trick.
Holden said, "I thought that in the previous playoff game Juhree was a little unsettled and trying too hard in front of the net. This game was far different as she found the net far easier with simple goals."
The Outlaws' last goal of the game came with two minutes left on the clock. Bafford had the ball out wide and cut to the inside,6
where Lilly Sundstrom had the vision to push forward and overlap her. Sundstrom's speed quickly placed her at the 18-yard box and she cut into the goal. She could have taken the shot but selflessly laid the ball off to a slashing Katie Ryan, who tapped it in for the fifth and final score of the contest.
"I'm proud of these girls for sticking to their game," said Holden. As playoffs advance, teams become more difficult to play. Passing, shooting, and tempo is not as easy as it is against lower ranked teams. It's easy to get rattled and frustrated and change your style of play. The second half of every game is an example of how our girls wear teams down with their passing, patience in front of the goal with shooting, and their work ethic, which doesn't stop until the end of the game."
Once again, the Outlaws' defense deserves a lot of credit for their great play and communication, which shut out St. Mary's.
Holden said, "St. Mary's has a fast girl who kept trying to get by Shae (Wyland). The coach switched her to the other side, where she had to try and get past an ever faster Lilly (Sundstrom). The one or two times she did manage to get by she had to get around a fast and even more physical Izzy (Schiller)."
Holden praised his wingers, Bafford and Davis, for their selfless play, and noted they've become very unpredictable players. He also noted midfielders Maggie Lutz and Marley Holden, who work very well together. He stated that Lutz' defensive intelligence allows Holden to be the engine of the team and to be able to distribute balls to her teammates all over the field.
Captains Izzy Schiller and Marley Holden shared their comments on the game.
Schiller said, "We went into today's game with the mindset of leaving everything on the field. No matter the outcome it was the last time the seven seniors will ever play at home, and that brought out a lot of emotion. The score was 1-0 at the half, so we went back on the field ready to put the game away. I am so proud of how much every player dug deep to advance to the semifinals.
Holden commented, "We just played our game, which is simple and all about passing. When we connect with each other, and let the ball work, we have success."