Woodinville junior Sophie Chakalo did what she does: she found a small window of opportunity and knocked a soccer ball into it. This time, just barely. But a goal is a goal and it translated into a 3-2 win over rival Bothell at Pop Keeney last Tuesday in a wild one.
With five minutes left in a scoreless second half in a 2-2 game seemed destined for OT, the striker struck, turning on a dime and drilling a ground ball shot on frame that squeaked through Cougar goalie Alexis Thode’s hands ... and slowly lurched across the goal line for the game winner. Thode, the All-KingCo keeper, made a lunging second attempt to beat the ball back as it dribbled behind her while the crowd on both sides held its collective breath.
It took a moment for the referees to decide on the outcome — a funky ending to an exciting back-and-forth game, and Thode probably wants the moment back as the ball never touched the net.
Said Bothell coach Shaun Warner: “I didn’t have a great look at it but the referee, to his credit, was where he was supposed to be so if he said it was in I can’t argue with that.”
Said Chakalo, who hit the crossbar on a laser late in the first half in a 2-2 tie: “I saw the opening, got past the defender and I remember my dad (at halftime) told me to just hit it on the ground and whatever happens will happen. The girl (Bothell keeper Thode) fumbled it and I saw it cross and said ‘That’s it, that has to be in.’ It didn’t get in by much but it got in and that’s all that matters.”
Bothell opened the scoring in a wild and wooly first half, as Samantha Mellick knocked in a wide-open cross from Ali Cundiff 30 seconds in.
Woodinville’s Brittney Greenback converted on a corner from Christine Horne to tie it up 10 minutes later, then Cundiff tallied from the right wing on a shot that slipped through the hands of Falcon keeper Molly Stinson.
Woodinville responded with a brilliant goal from Julianne Smith, unassisted, hooked from the right wing 20 yards out to make it 2-2: four goals in the first 20 minutes, an apparent shootout, lickety-split. Both teams were fired up and physical, going up and down as loose balls were recovered at midfield and delivered to spring offensive forays in both halves, both ways.
“Barnburner,” Woodinville coach Sully Hester said at the end, with a twinkle in his eye on a full moon night. “Skyline’s probably our true rival but it seems we can never beat Bothell by more than a goal, because of that crosstown rivalry thing. They get up for us and always make it tough. Tonight they came out with a lot of energy and put us on our heels. Number 18 (Taylor Storey) for them played really well on our forwards, but in the end we wore them down, I think.”
Added Warner: “It was a fun game to watch. I’m pretty happy — despite losing — because we’re better than I originally thought we’d be. You don’t like to lose, but it was one of those games you can learn something from. I thought we played really hard and I’m proud of our girls.”
Note: On Thursday, in perhaps an emotional letdown, the Lady Falcons played to a scoreless tie against Garfield at home, to establish a7-2-2 overall record, 4-2-1 in KingCo, now sitting in third place.
Issaquah and Skyline remain unbeaten in conference play. Woodinville travels to Skyline on Thursday.