HOCKINSON — At first it was heartbreak, then anger. After that there was reflection, then contrition.
In the moments after Hockinson, the top seed in the 2A District 4 postseason tournament, fell 2-0 at home to Mark Morris — a team the Hawks beat twice before (4-2, 4-1) — they knew there was only one direction to point the blame: inward.
“We didn’t prepare like we should have,” freshman Grace Abbott said. “We all thought it. We didn’t go into this thinking we could lose. We went in thinking we’d already beat them twice, we’d beat them again. We took for granted that we got to play them again and we shouldn’t have.”
Team leaders were particularly miffed by Tuesday’s practice, which coach Joe Chicks said left a sour taste in the mouth of him, among others. So when the whistle blew, toughening Hockinson’s road to a state tournament berth on a night it could have punched its ticket, the team looked to the practice as evidence it wasn’t ready.
Plus, as the recently minted 2A Greater St. Helens League champion, the Hawks knew they had a target on their backs. And the Monarchs brought their A-game.
Mark Morris scored in the 27th minute on a bullet from 30-yards by Allie Scudder out that went untouched past the goalkeeper. That came after the Hawks dominated possession in the early goings. They kept the ball in the Monarch’s half and even produced a near-goal, a shot by Abbott that pinged off the crossbar.
Mark Morris finished third in the 2A GSHL. In the first matchup of the season, the Monarchs took a 2-0 lead before Hockinson rattled off four goals to pull away.
But on Tuesday night, the Hawks created shot after shot, at times dominated possession in the attacking third and, yet, nothing seemed to fall. Some went wide, some hit the crossbar — five, to be precise — and some, perhaps most, were stopped by Monarchs goalkeeper Aunika Rodman. The senior logged 11 saves, a few coming in the final minutes of the game.
“Mark Morris made it hard on us, defended well and got some chances to go,” Chicks said. “They deserved it tonight.”
In the 38th minute, Monarchs up 1-0, a foul just inside the 18-yard box drew a Hockinson penalty kick. But the shot bounced off the crossbar. Then 12 minutes into the second half, Mark Morris scored on a counter attack to go ahead 2-0.
The Hawks drew a free kick with less than 15 minutes to play in the second half. The kick was direct, shot out of the reach of the keeper, hit the crossbar and bounced down off the goal line, missing a goal by merely inches.
“I love the game of soccer and that’s just the gut-wrenching part of it,” Chicks said.
Now, the Hawks are eager to put Tuesday’s loss behind them. In order to beat its rival Ridgefield on Thursday for a chance to play in a third place game on Monday for the final state berth, Hockinson knows it must.
“What better way to be in the consolation round?” Chicks said. “You get a chance to play your rivals and one of you are going on, the other is going home.”