TENINO — Making the nearly six hour trek to Tenino Beaver Stadium, a highly-motivated and energetic No. 12 Tonasket girls soccer team knocked off No. 5 Adna Wednesday night, 1-0, in a mostly defensive-minded contest.
Though the Pirates were playing much closer to home, they were the ones who looked out of sorts offensively, and after one misstep in the 15th minute that let in a goal, couldn’t put any chances across in a season-ending loss.
“They came over here and had to travel through the snow and everything to get here, they wanted it and they wanted it real bad,” Adna coach Patrick Richardson said of Tonasket. “They took it to us and gave it everything they had, and we had a little lapse there and couldn’t get it back. But we fought all the way through to the end.”
The Pirates had some set piece chances late, but had a hard time keeping possession in the final third, and was caught offside half a dozen times. Adna is a team that has thrived on putting the ball back in the final third after an initial clearance, and the Tigers adjusted to that strategy quickly.
“They were taking advantage of us not moving back into play quick enough, they took advantage of making those steps to push us offsides because they know we can put the ball back in,” Richardson said. “We were having a hard time adjusting, they would be flat sometimes and someone wouldn’t be back, so you wouldn’t know quite when to get back.”
Because of trip-ups like that, the Pirates never found a good offensive rhythm. Still, despite some woes, Adna had its chances.
A late corner kick and a free kick chance both couldn’t get converted, despite some excellent defensive play from the Pirates throughout the game.
Still, though hugs and some tears were shared, the Pirates and Richardson was proud of how far his team had come this season after graduating a large senior class a year ago. Adna won a league title, finished second in the district tournament, and had just four losses on the year in a strong debut head coaching season for Richardson.
“These ones stuck it out, put time in the summer and improved from the beginning of the season on,” he said. “We had a solid season and a lot of people didn’t expect us to be where we’re at. That’s a huge accomplishment for these girls. I wish we could’ve lived to see another day, but it just wasn’t our day.”
The Pirates graduate seniors Karlee VonMoos, Abby McAuley, Natalie Loose, and Destiny Roller. Richardson says out of any group he’s ever coached, this one will stand out for how hard they worked throughout the years.
“That’s the biggest thing about this group of seniors, they’re such workhorses,” Richardson said. “It’s what defines them compared to other groups. These four are such solid workhorses, and it paid off for them. They left it all out there and that’s all we can ask for.”