Eatonville’s Mary VanEaton crosses up her opponent in a match last week against Hoquiam.
The Eatonville Cruisers girls soccer team celebrated back-to-back victories that put an end to a challenging three-game losing streak and ignited their season with renewed energy.
First, they dominated the Hoquiam Grizzlies at home with a resounding 5-0 win, and then they clinched a 1-0 overtime victory against the Elma Eagles on the road.
Interim head coach Machaela Swartout praised her team's resilience and determination, particularly highlighting their ability to bounce back after a tough first half in the match against Hoquiam.
“In the first half, we didn't play our best soccer, but we managed to find the net twice," Swartout said. “Hannah Hanson opened the scoring in the 18th minute with a goal off a cutback cross from Nikia King. Our second goal came in the 31st minute, with Hailey Courson finding the back of the net, thanks to an assist from Mary Van Eaton.”
During halftime, the coaching staff emphasized the importance of improving fundamental skills, and the team responded. Hailey Courson continued her scoring spree with another goal in the 50th minute, assisted by Kennedy Noble. Mary Van Eaton added to the tally with a stunning solo effort, striking the ball from outside the 18-yard box and finding the side netting in the 57th minute.
The final goal of the night was a product of teamwork, as Lily Lightfoot capitalized on an assist from Ashley Limbird.
In addition to their impressive offensive display, the Cruisers displayed defensive prowess, preventing the Hoquiam Grizzlies from making any significant advances.
Tierney Amaral, the Cruisers' goalkeeper, had a unique experience during the match, recording a shutout without even having to touch the ball once, a testament to the team's collective effort on the field.
OT VS. ELMA
The Cruisers' winning momentum carried over to their next matchup against the Elma Eagles. In an intense contest, they secured a 1-0 victory in overtime.
Coach Swartout beamed with pride as she reflected on her team's performance.
"What a great team win. Every single girl played so well last night — starters and substitutes alike. Our team has such great depth, and it has been so great to see the amount of growth and progress we’ve made in a few short weeks,” said Swartout.
The victory against Elma improved the Cruisers' record to 2-1 in 1A Evergreen League play and 5-3-1 overall. Swartout commended her team's defensive efforts against a formidable opponent.
"Defensively, we were very sound — Elma has great attackers, and we handled the challenge well," she said.
The game remained tied at 0-0 through regulation, with both teams creating scoring opportunities. However, the Cruisers seized their chance in the first overtime period. A well-executed throw-in by Kyleigh Backlund found its way into Elma’s 18-yard box, sailing over a defender’s head and deflecting off an Elma player. Kennedy Noble was perfectly positioned, anticipating the play, and was able to take a touch away from the keeper before slotting the ball into the corner to secure the win.
"We are very proud of all our girls. Of course, the job is far from done, but it is a good feeling to see our hard work paying off, and we hope to continue to do so,” Swartout said.