SUMNER — After seven straight seasons of coming up just short of the 2B state title game, the Adna girls soccer team finally, in their eighth try, came up big in penalty kicks to beat Toledo, and advance to its first ever state championship match Friday night.
In a scoreless stalemate throughout, the Pirates came from behind to beat the Riverhawks in a shootout, 5-4, and will play No. 2 Kalama in a district title rematch tomorrow at 3 p.m. for a state championship.
“I’m happy for them,” Pirates coach Horst Malunat said. “The doubt was that they weren’t good enough to get here. The girls were very motivated by people doubting us. We’ve had so much adversity, they just powered through.”
After missing their very first penalty kick, the Pirates ripped off five straight, and keeper Macy Kalnoski came up huge to give the Pirates the victory over their Central 2B League counterparts.
But before that, the game was a slog. The Riverhawks controlled the pace throughout most of the first half, but just couldn’t capitalize on any set pieces. In the second half, it was the Pirates turn to control possession but come up empty before PKs.
“We were still trying to push through, but I think Adna just had really good momentum in the second half, and that continued throughout the overtime periods,” Toledo coach Noel Vazquez told Josh Kirshenbaum of The Daily News. “I thought we kind of lost our identity of how we were playing that first half, and it did cost us at the end. But we gave ourselves a chance, and the girls did everything within their power to get where we’re at today.”
But Malunat was quick to point out that Toledo also made history Friday, despite the loss. Malunat coached at Toledo for over a decade before moving on to a new job, and after facing his former team with so much on the line, winning was bittersweet.
“I’m glad the program has risen, they’re making history, just like we are,” Malunat said. “I have a lot of respect for that program. My hats off to Noel and the girls … it's tough.”
For Toledo, it will have to turn around in 16.5 hours and take on No. 3 Highland in the third-place game at 11 a.m. Saturday. The battered and bruised Riverhawks have already made it further than they ever have before, and will earn their first trophy in program history tomorrow.
“We’re still going to come out here and perform,” Vazquez told TDN. “At the end of the day, we’re coming out of here with a trophy. More than anything — and I’ve said this all season — we’re taking it one game at a time.
“At the end of the day, the girls should be very proud of themselves. We were one PK away from being in the championship for the first time.”
The Pirates, meanwhile, will hope for another first tomorrow, when they take on Kalama — a team they’ve lost to twice this season — at 3 p.m. at Sunset Stadium Saturday.
“Maybe the third time's the charm,” Malunat said. “We need to rest tonight, and everything is in the rearview mirror. We have to look forward and never look back. We’ve played Kalama enough where we know what they’re giving us, it’s a common opponent that we’ve played against. We know what to do, now we just have to execute.”
Regardless, Saturday will be the first time any C2BL team has ever won a state championship, and will be either Kalama or Adna’s first championship in soccer. The Pirates previously lost to the Chinooks, 3-1, in the district championship a few weeks ago, and 2-1 in Kalama during the regular season.