Columbia High lost to Eatonville, 7-0, Tuesday in the first round of the state 2A girls soccer tournament. The match, played in Sumner, marked CHS's state tournament debut.
The Bruins qualified for the state tourney Nov. 1, defeating a combined Onalaska/Napavine/Mossyrock squad, 1-0, in a SW Washington District 4 playoff match in Chehalis.
Two nights later, in a state seeding match at Doc Harris Stadium in Camas, CHS lost by the same score to Toledo/Winlock United.
United's Megan Hopf broke the scoreless stalemate in the 56th minute, scoring the only goal during a defensive mix-up that left the right side of the Columbia net wide open.
Bruins Coach Amy Kasenga said she had expected a defensive-minded match "between two very similar teams: strong midfield, good speed on top, balanced at both ends"; she "wasn't at all surprised" they managed just the one goal between them.
"My comment to the girls at halftime was, `The first team to score is going to win, and it's probably going to be because of a defensive breakdown,'" Kasenga noted.
"As things turned out, we had the first breakdown and that resulted in the goal," she continued. "But, just as important, we continued to battle right to the end."
Toledo/Winlock (14-4) snared the district's third state seed, while Columbia (11-7) ended up as the fourth seed.
"The better team that night won, and that's as it should be," Kasenga said.
United outshot Columbia, 16-8, overall--including 10-4 in the second half--had twice as many corner kicks (6-3), and won the majority of the 50/50 balls in the air.
Freshman center midfielder Shannon McNallan put six shots on goal to lead the Bruins' attack. Classmates Naomi Halpern and Johanna Zimbelman each attempted one shot.
Sophomore goalkeeper Kelsey Kidd, who had a busy night minding the CHS net, finished with 17 saves.
Other standouts for CHS included sophomore sweeper Chelsea Ludwig and freshman outside midfielders Kaci Kreps and Mackenzie VanLaar.
All in all, Kasenga felt the Bruins gave a good accounting of themselves in a match that played like a state tournament game.
"It was very much like that," she said, because of the type of surface they played on (synthetic field turf), the size of the field ("more ground to cover") and the speed and intensity exhibited by the opposing team.
"Now that we've had that kind of experience, we'll know what to expect the next time and be ready for it," Kasenga added.
Eatonville, CHS's first-round opponent, lost just one match on its way to winning the Nisqually League.
The Cruisers (14-1) allowed just nine goals during the regular season and entered state-tournament action with an 11-match winning streak.
The Bruins, meanwhile, had lost four of their last five; one of those losses was a forfeit to Hockinson.