Helena Reischling nets a hat trick and Bea Franklin has two goals and two assists for defending Class 3A champion Panthers.
It didn’t take long for the top-ranked Seattle Prep girls soccer team to warm up in its Class 3A state title defense. It was get hot, stay hot for the Panthers in the first half.
Four minutes was all it took to strike for its first goal. And, it didn’t stop after that.
Sophomore Helena Reischling notched a hat trick and fellow sophomore Bea Franklin contributed two goals and two assists as Seattle Prep poured it on Central Kitsap 6-0 in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament on Tuesday night at Memorial Stadium.
The Panthers (20-0-0) opened a 6-0 lead by halftime and began the second half with nine new players from their original starting 11 as coach Andy Hendricks chose to rest most of the starters.
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“There wasn’t really any (nerves) tonight and our mentality is really good going forth,” said Reischling, who now has 17 goals and seven assists this season. “Going into state, I think we’re all really excited and prepared for what we have to do and what we have to bring mentally.
“I think we’re all really focused. I think we’re ready to go and ready to defend the title.”
The defending 3A state champion Panthers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening seven minutes. Franklin connected from 10 yards out on nice long pass from Sophie Hirst to open the scoring in the fourth minute. Then, in the seventh minute, Reischling curved a 19-yard shot into the far left corner of the net on a pass from Franklin.
Seattle Prep, which has reached the state quarterfinals four seasons in a row, advances to face No. 8 Arlington, which won in penalty kicks over Mercer Island, on the road in the state quarterfinals on Friday or Saturday.
Central Kitsap finished 11-4-3. The Cougars, who played without Alexia Allen (6 goals, 6 assists), tied for second with Yelm during regular-season play in the South Sound Conference (SSC) behind unbeaten Gig Harbor.
They were no match for the Prep offensive attack on Tuesday.
“We went out and scouted them and saw (Central Kitsap) play Highline, and we thought we’d have (scoring) opportunities,” Hendricks said. “Bea’s just an athlete. She just has a game sense. Helena is one of the best athletes I’ve coached.
“The start is only as good as the finish. We’ve talked about that a lot. We want to be there (with a state championship) in the end.”
The lead grew to 3-0 on Reischling’s close range shot inside the left post on a pass from Franklin in the 16th minute as the two players connected again. It could have easily been 4-0 but in the 11th minute Franklin had her goal wiped out on an offsides call.
The lead reached 4-0 in the 22nd minute when Hirst finished off a 10-yard shot after a pass from McKenzie Frazier.
Reischling’s third goal of the evening came on a header in the 34th minute to make it 5-0 Panthers. That goal started on a throw-in from Maegan Manning to the head of Hirst and Reischling used her head to convert.
The advantage swelled to 6-0 when Franklin knocked a 16-yard rebound shot into an unattended net in the 38th minute.
Seattle Prep has won three state titles in 3A and is going for its seventh appearance in the championship match in the last 12 seasons. The Panthers won 3A state crowns in 2015, 2011 and 2010.
The last time the Panthers didn’t get to the quarterfinals or farther in state play was a first-round exit in 2012, falling 2-1 to Columbia River. The program has qualified for the state semifinals eight of the last 11 seasons.
In contrast, Central Kitsap has never reached the state semis. The Cougars made the state quarterfinals twice in school history – 2015 and 2004. They lost 2-1 to Edmonds Woodway in the 2015 state quarterfinals.