Kennedy Catholic wins shoot out

SUMNER - John F. Kennedy Catholic addressed Woodrow Wilson with a spot in the 2012 Class 3A state tournament on the line and ended any debate about who should move on.

Exercising remarkable resilience and patience under fire, the South Puget Sound and Seamount No. 4 seed Kennedy Catholic Lancers forced the Narrows League champion and No. 1 seeded Wilson Rams through the regulation 90 minutes, a pair of five-minute overtimes and a penalty-kick shoot out before escaping with a 3-2 win in the West Central /Southwest Bi-district tournament held at Sunset Chev Stadium on the campus of Sumner High School on Saturday, Nov.3.

Kennedy's Lancers moved on to a host match up to be played Nov. 7 at Highline Memorial Stadium. Wilson's first league championship season in 30 years ended in Sumner.

Kennedy Catholic penalty kick shooter Mary Witkowski opened up by neatly depositing the first kick into the upper left corner of the net ahead of teammate Madeline Dailey's low kick that shot into net off the left post. With Wilson's corresponding two shooters coming up empty on their attempts, the Lancers had the Rams on the ropes immediately.

JFK's third shooter was denied by Wilson goal keeper Danielle Rhea, but WW No. 3 shooter hit the right post.

In the fourth round the Lancer shooter kicked over the net before Wilson No. 4 shooter flew her kick wide of the left post to conclude the proceedings.

Following the end of the long struggle, Kennedy Catholic keeper Diondre Bourgette realized the remarkable reality of the Lancers hosting the first round of the state playoffs.

"It's been an up and down season, but I was really happy to complete the game," Bourgette said. "They have very quick forwards and we lost our composure for awhile after that quick first goal. We really battled hard to win."

Kennedy was put on the defensive shortly after the opening moments when Wilson scored in the third minute on Brittainy Canonica's high soaring header off Kailey Norling's corner kick.

It was the Rams who used thier ground passing to put the Lancers in jeopardy for much of the first half. Forced to hold its opponents on defense for a long period of time, Kennedy Catholic finally started putting consistent attacks into Wilson territory. Keeper Rhea aggressively came out of goal to smother loose balls before the Lancer attackers could reach them.

By the end of the half, JFK was pressing the issue on offense.

Opening the second half, the Lancers rode to the attack quickly, but the Rams rolled right back in a fray that was a near standoff until the final 15-20 minutes of regulation.

As KC gradually took control of field possession as a part of better physical conditioning, the only missing link was finishing the attacks. The early score was still the difference.

"I thought we had the better of the play," said Kennedy head coach Doug Stamnes. "We started pushing up and putting more pressure on the ball."

Lancer lightning finally struck with forward Celestina Ramirez tieing the sore in the 53rd minute and sending Kennedy Catholic ahead on a header in the 55th minute.

Just 19 seconds later, Wilson's Alexas Blackman returned fire with her own header in the penalty box to tie it at 2-2. The Lancers stormed into the Ram side of midfield and spent the remaining minutes of regulation laying siege to the Wilson goal, doing everything but scoring, thus necessitating the overtimes and the shoot out.

"I'm just really happy with my team," concluded Ramirez, who led many of the Kennedy Catholic charges from the front line.

Kennedy Catholic WCD/SW representative state players are Diondre Bourgette, Allie Collins, Dakota Nelson, Mica Hildebrandt, Jenna Bojorquez, Caitlyn Mathews, Sami Mackenzie, Angela Ponselle, Mary Witkowski, Gabi Patten, Miranda Goff, Madeline Dailey, Allie Quy, Kit Bruner, Ashley Cusak, Samantha Bell, Viviana Mattson and Celestina Ramirez.

Coach Stamnes is assisted by coach Brian Mullen.

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