No. 9 T-Birds Knock Off No. 8 Selah in State Opener

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SELAH — Tumwater senior Ainsley Wall notched a brace in the first nine minutes and the Thunderbirds held off a furious second-half comeback attempt by Selah for a 3-2 victory over the Vikings in the opening round of the 2A state girls soccer tournament Wednesday in Selah.

Wall said it was a rewarding victory for the Thunderbirds, who are playing in their first state tournament since 2016.

“It’s so exciting,” Wall said. “We haven’t done this in so long, so it’s just such an honor to be going so far with this group of girls. It’s so cool.”

Tumwater is in the midst of a breakthrough season after running a 14-1 overall record in the regular season, including a perfect 11-0 record in league play, to capture the 2A Evergreen Conference title.

The Thunderbird then opened the district playoffs with a 2-0 win over R.A. Long before falling to Hockinson, 2-1, in the semifinals and rebounding with a 2-0 victory over Washougal in a winner-to-state match.

That earned them the No. 9 seed at state and a matchup on the road against No. 8 Selah.

The Thunderbirds busted out the gates Wednesday with Wall scoring first in the fifth minute on a 30-yard bomb that blew the top off the Vikings’ defense and landed above Selah’s goalkeepers’ outstretched hands at the top of the net.

Four minutes later, Wall made it 2-0 on a penalty kick to the lower left corner. Freshman forward Emalyn Shaffer knocked one in from close range in the 15th minute to put Tumwater up 3-0 in flash.

That put the Vikings in full gear as Allison Moultray finally put Selah on the scoreboard in the 32nd minute with a PK. 

From then on, until stoppage time, the two squads battled to a scoreless second half until Selah knocked another goal in during stoppage time to cut the Vikings’ deficit to one. Tumwater held off the furious comeback attempt and secured the victory.

Tumwater co-head coach John Hayes said he’s proud of the way his team competed against a tough Selah squad after a long bus ride over the pass.

“For the girls to go up three on the road that early and then just battle, it’s fantastic for these girls,” Hayes said. “We did well in districts and then we haven’t been to state in a long time. It’s really tough when you get here. It’s the top 16 teams and we’re moving on.”

Tumwater will now travel to face No. 1 Archbishop Murphy in the state quarterfinals at 1 p.m. on Saturday.