Eight Southwest Washington girls soccer teams lined the pitch under the lights of Centralia Tigers Stadium in some opening soccer jamboree action Thursday night, playing two 20-minute matchups each on a beautiful night.
Playing for the first time in the fall since 2019, Adna, Centralia, Tenino, Napavine, Toutle Lake, Toledo, W.F. West, and Onalaska all got their feet wet before the real season begins next week. Here’s how they fared:
The Tigers, working with a lot of new pieces, dropped both matches Thursday, losing to Adna 1-0 and dropping the last game of the night to Onalaska 2-0. Centralia had a hard time keeping possession, but was able to limit a lot of damage from both Adna and Onalaska’s attack and worked in a lot of new faces in its lineup.
“We do this every year, and this year it was more important than ever to get it because it was almost a reset, back to normal,” head coach Henry Gallanger said. “You get to take away some stuff, as far as trying new players. We’re no different than any other school, we’re trying to get players eligible and get their practices in, every school is dealing with that. But it gives us an opportunity to see players we haven’t seen before like freshmen and players that might have decided to turn out this year … it’s great to connect with all the coaches and the players just get out and have fun.
The senior-heavy Pirates looked the part Thursday night, winning their first game 1-0 against Centralia and tying 1A stalwart Tenino in a scoreless draw. Adna broke through in the fifth minute from senior Presley Smith, but it was the Pirates' defense that carried the day. Adna didn’t allow a goal in both matches, and though they were on the receiving end of 10 shots from Tenino, they kept them off the scoreboard.
“Adversity is going to happen, if it’s going to happen now, it’s better to happen now,” head coach Horst Malunat said. “Sports are so much more mental than anybody even knows. That’s the main thing, to keep us together. This was good, it showed a few things. There’s some things we need to work on with shape and positioning, and last year we didn’t get this … This is good, we didn’t lose, we’ll get better, and we’ll keep getting better.”
After a scoreless draw with the Pirates, Tenino battled back to blank Napavine 2-0, with senior midfielder and captain Megan Letts breaking through in the seventh minute to net a goal off an assist from Morgan Miner. After struggling to finish goals in their first game against Adna, the Beavers scored a second in the 19th minute when Natalie Lucero found Emma Barr for a goal to close out their trip to Centralia.
“I thought we did some good stuff,” Tenino coach Kevin Schultz said. “We obviously had more scoring opportunities in both games against our opponent, which is what we’re looking for. We’re using this to get our fitness levels up, we’re where we want to be going into the season. I thought we definitely showed that. The first game, we felt a little bit unlucky we didn’t score, we out shot them 10-0. The second game, we then were able to blend some players in and see them with our varsity starters which is also good to see where we’re at with our team.”
The Tigers battled back after dropping their first match to Tenino to beat Toutle Lake, 1-0. Because Toutle could only field a team of eight players, Napavine dropped down to play eight vs. eight, and scored their only goal of the day in the 13th minute, when spring season all-area player Natalya Marcial broke free and put one through the back of the net.
The Riverhawks ᠆ yes, the Riverhawks ᠆ blitzed Toutle Lake in their first game, scoring five goals to Toutle’s nil, before dropping their next game against W.F. West 1-0. Against Toutle, Briza Gallegos recorded a brace, scoring Toledo’s first two goals before Marina Smith, Rose Dillon, and Vanessa Rodriguez netted the next three.
“The No. 1 thing we’re taking, we played Toutle Lake who is in our division, it gives us an idea of where we are within our league a little bit,” head coach Noel Vazquez said. “I only have 12 girls this season so it’s going to be tight trying to keep everyone healthy but we came and played the second game against W.F. West, obviously we lost 1-0 but the one thing I would take is the girls battled … We learned a lot, we kind of got to see where we’re at, and we’re ready to tackle the season head on when it gets here.”
The Bearcats got on the board early against Toledo and never looked back, with junior forward Cam Sheets scoring in the fifth minute to give them the only advantage they needed to take home the win. In W.F. West’s second game, they couldn’t find that same early success, and played to a scoreless tie against Onalaska.
“It was great to see the girls get in a game scenario for the first time this year vs. an opponent and work on our shape and chemistry,” head coach Allen Anderson said. “I’m really happy with how the girls looked for their first performance out on the field. Still a lot of room to grow … We’ve got a lot of new faces on the field so establishing that chemistry on the field is going to be important, but I liked what I saw tonight.”
After struggling to keep possession in a scoreless tie with W.F. West, the Loggers found two goals from Brooklyn Sandridge, who recorded the brace and gave Onalaska a 2-0 win over Centralia to close out the night. Sandridge’s goals came in the fourth and 15th minutes.
“It took us until the second game until we really started to settle down and play,” Onalaska coach Chris Van Clifford said. “We started looking good about halfway through and got a couple goals, so that was kind of nice. We were looking for some harder opponents at the beginning of the year, so it was great to play a couple 2A teams.”