Friday, July 21, 2017
A second one-loss campaign in as many seasons in the Northwest Premier League put the Shadow Women's First Team in a tie for the best record this season and put them in semifinal this weekend. The defending champions play host to Washington Timbers Sunday at 5:00 at the Polo Grounds.
Here is a look back at how the 9-1-0 season played out along with photos of some of the MANY players that helped the team reach this point:
The Shadow ladies faced a daunting task of playing all five road games to start the season, including a pair of two-game trips in their first two weeks of play. They were amazing in that stretch and began their home slate with a perfect 5-0-0 record. After a slip-up against eventual regular season champion Seattle Stars (based on head-to-head tiebreaker), the Shadow outscored the opposition 15-3 in a pair of two-game weekends amidst intense temperatures to finish off a regular season campaign that saw them allow just eight goals in 10 games while playing the league's toughest unbalanced schedule based on last year's results.
On the Shadow's opening week of play in Week 3 of the NWPL, the ladies took to the road for arguably its toughest trip of the campaign, traveling to Bremerton to play the Olympic Force and stopping in Tacoma on the way back to face Washington Premier South Sound, who finished second to Spokane a year ago and handed them their only loss of the campaign. After a scoreless first half the Force got on the board first with a goal two minutes in, but Kaelyn Barnes pulled Shadow even in the 66th and Marissa Mykines tied it up with a dramatic 90th minute tally for a 2-1 win against Olympic. The following day AJ Crooks recorded a shutout as the Shadow avenged last year's loss in emphatic fashion. Darby Doyle scored in the 11th via Tiara Pajimola. Ten minutes later Callie Best scored on a ball from Jael Hagerott, who added the third in the 66th.
Another long road trip on back-to-back weekends, another two wins as they topped Washington Timbers and Twin City Union. Ashlyn Juul stepped between the posts for a shutout against the Timbers - new in 2017 - on Saturday as the Shadow took control in the early stages. Havana Johnson scored her first of the year just two minutes into the match and then tallied a second in the 27th. From there the defense stood firm. The following day Meaghan Bare scored in the 24th to give Spokane the lead, but the hosts answered in the 35th for an even ledger at the break. Bare, though, found Tianna Helm in the 69th for what held as the 2-1 winner against Twin City.
Despite several weeks off, Bare made it four consecutive goals with a contribution as the Shadow jumped ahead quickly in a dominant 8-1 road win in Wenatchee against newcomer NCW Alliance. She tallied the opener 11 minutes on a ball from Morgan Crosby and then doubled the lead in the 26th. Mykines scored the next two, tallying four minutes later and converting a penalty in the 37th for a four-goal first half. Larkin Russell tallied in the 52nd and Maia Angell in the 54th before Mykines completed a hat-trick in the 75th. Maddie Haas rounded out the scoring in the 77th.
In their first-ever appearance at Whitworth, the Shadow took the lead in the 27th minute on a nice run from Larkin Russell in the 27th minute, but a serious head injury suffered by a Seattle player in a 50-50 collision halted the game just before halftime and changed the tone of the contest for the second half. The inspired Stars got a quick India Jencks equalizer two minutes into the second half and took advantage of a free kick in the 66th that bounced around in the box before Sunshine Soriano put it away for a 2-1 win, handing Spokane its first-ever home loss and ending a 13-game win streak.
In their first games at the Spokane Polo Grounds, the ladies rolled to a pair of 4-0 victories on back-to-back days against Twin City Union and WPSS Shock. Despite controlling the contest, it took nearly the entire first half before Spokane broke the stalemate on scoreboard with Haas finding Katie Greene on a corner in the 43rd minute. One minute into the second half Samantha Heilman doubled the advantage courtesy of Riley Martinson and the Shadow put things in cruise control from there, adding two in the late stages of the game. Heilman set up Johnson in the 81st and two minutes later Sarah Cox scored on a fantastic free kick from about 38 yards to wrap up the win against Twin City. The following day Best scored 24 minutes in via Johnson and combined with Greene in setting up Barnes in the 36th. Kelsey Crosby tallied off a rebounded Greene shot in the 54th and Bridget Rieken converted a penalty in the 63rd after Martinson was brought down by a Shock defender. Tiegan Horton was in goal for both shutouts.
In their first game back at SFCC this season, the ladies found themselves battling the heat as well as the visiting Yakima Hoppers as the temperatures reached triple-digits on the pitch in the first of two games on the weekend as they also faced Fuerza the next day in the afternoon sun at the Polo Grounds. A turnover at centerback allowed league-leading scorer Lauryn Peters to give the visitors the lead in the 23rd minute, but it was only for five minutes as Emmy Moore tied things up in the 28th. In the second half Spokane took firm control of the game. Hailey Tucker put them in front seven minutes in on a ball from Katie Bischoff, but Yakima would not go without a fight as they were trying to stay in playoff contention. A long, looping shot that snuck under the bar tied things back up in the 65th. Johnson scored in the 76th via Mykines and Bischoff, in her first appearance of the year, found paydirt in the 80th to put the lead at two with Johnson scoring a second in the final minute. The following day against a fresh Fuerza side, the ladies found themselves trailing after 10 minutes. A failed clearance in the 32nd was sent back in by McKenna Stocker with perfect accuracy to Johnson at the far side of the six to put things level and then a minute later striker turned defender Tiara Pajimola showed off her attacking talent with a long run forward and a strike from about 40 yards that held as the game-winner.