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News / Sports / Prep Sports

Prairie girls soccer loses in 3A semis, still has shot at history

By Andy Buhler, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: November 16, 2018, 9:33pm
7 Photos
Prairie senior midfielder Malaika Quigley walks off the field at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup moments after the final whistle in a 3-1 loss to Holy Names in the 3A state semifinals.
Prairie senior midfielder Malaika Quigley walks off the field at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup moments after the final whistle in a 3-1 loss to Holy Names in the 3A state semifinals. (Andy Buhler/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

PUYALLUP — If there’s one thing Prairie girls soccer has proved throughout the postseason, it’s that when down, they’re most certainly not out.

And while for the past few weeks that sentiment has described the Falcons defiant wins — two in penalty kicks — that landed them in the 3A state semifinals for just the second time in program history, it encapsulated how the team would handle its toughest loss of the season.

Despite a halftime lineup adjustment, a second half wonder-goal and a furious late-game effort, Prairie saw its state title run fall short on its doorstep on Friday.

But its 3-1 loss to Holy Names in the semifinals at Puyallup’s Sparks Stadium didn’t put an end to the Falcons’ season.

They will play a third place game Saturday morning that won’t just serve as a potential silver lining to its trip to the final four. A win would cement the program’s best-ever finish.

“We’ll give everything we can and that will be a great legacy for our group, so it’s a season that’s still alive,” Prairie coach Michael Thyron said. “We’ll have to rebound.”

Much of the latter half of Prairie’s season has been, in a way, defined by defying expectations.

Its fourth consecutive 3A Greater St. Helens League title required beating a Mountain View team that, for much of the league slate, led in the standings until a Prairie won the second head-to-head late in the regular season.

Its state title berth came via a penalty kick road win over Bonney Lake. Then its berth to Friday’s 3A state semifinals was a result of yet another penalty kick win on the road, that time at the raucous home of Mercer Island.

Friday’s game played out differently.

Holy Names scored in the 18th minute when a deflected save by goalkeeper Alli Corral bounced out to Tara Shelton, who put it away to put the Falcons in a 1-0 hole.

For much of the rest of the half, Holy Names held an advantage in possession, but its opportunities were few and far between. That was until the 39th minute, when a set piece went sailing into the six-yard box, and Megan DeTuerk scored on a bouncing header.

Conceding a second goal before halftime, particularly in the final minute, proved costly.

“That definitely set us back,” Savannah Harshbarger said. “We’ve come back from 1-0 before, especially at half. I feel like that second goal put us down more than we even were.”

Added Malaika Quigley: “The had the whole entire team walk into the locker room looking like their freakin’ dog died, down 2-0. We couldn’t get out of that funk. Being down that second goal really killed us.”

At halftime, Prairie adjusted. Noticing Holy Names only played one forward, the Falcons switched from four to three in the back line and put an extra forward up top — a three-four-three.

That made a difference in the second half. Prairie created chances, gained ground in the possession battle, and got on the board.

Harshbarger scored directly off a set piece from around 30 yards out to pull within one goal in the 51st minute.

“I definitely thought that was the high point of this game, when we realized we could actually be in the game,” Harshbarger said. “Then time started going away.”

The Falcons got opportunities, but couldn’t put them away. Holy Names’ third goal in the final minutes put the nail in the coffin.

In the wake of the loss, Thyron would place it in perspective when addressing the team.

On Saturday, history can still be made.

“(Third place) means everything,” he said. “You can have a trophy that says third or a trophy that says fourth.”

Goals (assists) — Savannah Harshbarger (unassisted). Goalkeeper saves — Alli Corral 4.
Halftime — Holy Names 2-0.

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Columbian Staff Writer