Sierra Bilginer scored in the 63rd minute as Redmond snapped Skyline's 37-match unbeaten streak and won its first KingCo girls soccer title since 1991 with a 1-0 win.
SAMMAMISH — The rain dripped off their heads and rolled down their cheeks. They soaked up the moment instead.
The pouring rain hardly mattered to the Redmond girls soccer team Tuesday night at Skyline High School. The euphoria of a rare milestone was the Mustangs’ sole focus.
Sierra Bilginer struck with the winning goal in the 63rd minute as Redmond won its first conference title in girls soccer since 1991 with a 1-0 win over third-ranked Skyline in the KingCo 4A championship game.
The feeling of hard work paying off was realized on a soggy night.
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“We’ve gotten to state and we’ve had great teams, but this group just came together really well,” said Patrick Scheibe, in his 18th year as Redmond coach. The Mustangs snapped the Spartans’ 37-match unbeaten streak with a rare win on Skyline’s field. Redmond lost 2-0 at Skyline on Oct. 18.
“It’s kind of fun when you see the perfect storm of kids coming together and the right attitude,” said Scheibe. “It doesn’t discount all the great kids we’ve had in the program. It’s fun when you see it all come together. That’s what is rewarding.”
Bilginer, a junior forward, got free down the right sideline behind the Skyline defense to break a scoreless tie. She nailed a 15-yard shot in the far left corner of the net after Kelsey Costello sent her a nice touch feed on the run.
“There was just a big gap and Kelsey played a perfect ball and it was just the perfect weight pass,” said Bilginer.
“We just put ourselves out there. We were tighter on our marks. Last time we played them, we tried to go more direct and that didn’t work. It just feels so good to know that all our hard work and determination paid off.”
Before the score, Scheibe described how Costello, a midfielder, wanted to push forward for a while.
“It’s a great story, because Kelsey said I want to push up a couple different times,” he said. “So, I told her to switch around with Kristin (Hayman). She actually saw something.
“Sierra Bilginer worked her socks off today and found herself at that spot where she tucked in and just hit a blistering shot nobody could’ve saved,” Scheibe said.
In the state playoffs next week, Redmond, the No. 1 seed from KingCo 4A, will face a team from the SPSL, Narrows or Greater St. Helens League.
Skyline advances as KingCo’s No. 2 seed.
“I feel like my girls can rebound from this and now we’ve been challenged,” Skyline coach Don Braman said. “We didn’t play our best tonight, and if you don’t play your best in KingCo, you get punished.”
The Spartans outshot Redmond 12-5.
Redmond had a near tally in the 56th minute as Kennedy Kieneker sent a scorching volley toward the net off a Hayman corner kick from the right. Skyline midfielder Kelli Sullivan saved the volley off the back line and cleared the ball away.
Issaquah 4, Garfield 1 (loser out)
Audrey Thomas netted two goals and an assist as the fifth-ranked Eagles (14-2-1) stayed alive. Issaquah hosts the WesCo 4A’s No. 3 team at 2 p.m. Saturday in a loser-out, winner-to-state game.
Lyrik Fryer tallied on an in-stride 12-yard shot after a nice crossing pass from Olivia Witherspoon in the 46th minute to break a scoreless tie.
Thomas, named KingCo 4A MVP for the second year in row, curved in a left-footed corner kick for a 2-0 lead in the 49th minute as the ball deflected off Garfield goalkeeper Sarah Whitney and into the net. Thomas now has 15 goals this season.
Rachel Wheeler scored on an empty-netter in the 60th minute from about 16 yards out for a 3-0 lead.
Ava Lewis made it 3-1 for Garfield (8-5-3) with a quick response in the 61st minute.
Then, Thomas finished the scoring with a miraculous bending, 10-yard shot from the outside of her foot in the 71st. Her second goal of the night defied all physics as she got the final tally.
Issaquah beat the Bulldogs 3-1 on Oct. 9 at Garfield in their regular-season meeting.