Lady Jags Fall Just Short in Regional Finals
By Kevin O’Rourke
The Northwest Lady Jaguars ended their season on Tuesday night with a 1-0 loss to the defending state champs, Whitman High School, in the finals of the regional tournament at Wootton High School, but they left a mark on the program and the school.
“This is the best girls soccer team that the school has ever had,” Northwest’s principal Lance Dempsey told the girls after the game.
The Lady Jags fought hard against a fast and talented Whitman team, but a goal in the fifth minute by Whitman’s senior captain Clare Severe, on a cross from sophomore forward Alyssa Prill, was all the Vikings needed defeat the Jags.
The play started as Whitman’s senior midfield Maddie Parker controlled and sent the ball to sophomore forward Abby Meyers, who moved it right to Prill, who carried the ball up the side of the field and ripped a crossing pass to Severe who finished for the goal, by bouncing it just past Northwest senior goalkeeper Laura Eckart.
The first half was a test for the Lady Jags, as the unbeaten Whitman Vikings speed was on display. Jags coach Joshua Kinnetz employed a philosophy of stacking players defensively behind the ball and taking chances to go on the offensive when they presented themselves for much of the game.
“Our game plan was to apply the pressure and play organized team defense and when we got our opportunities, counter attack,” said Kinnetz who is ending his fourth season with the Jags.
Under his leadership, Kinnetz has taken the program to new levels. Scheduling tougher more talented teams during the season and guiding his team to 10-6-1 record and a appearance in the Division 4A West Regional Finals.
“This team exemplifies grit,” said Kinnetz. “We have one of the tougher schedules in the county, purposefully. You have to play the best to be the best. It was a process throughout the whole season. We got better and better. That is all a coach can ask for is for a team to get better and build on what they’ve created.”
After giving up the goal, Northwest’s senior keeper turned in a great game to keep the Vikings from getting more goals. In the first half, she managed to get her hands on two balls that would have ended up in the back of the net. One was a punched over the crossbar in the 20th minute, and in another case, Eckart dove to get a hand on a shot which pushed Whitman’s Clare Severe’s shot just right of the goal.