By Andy Orozco
In a high-stakes girls’ soccer clash Thursday night, The Bonney Lake Panthers hosted The Stadium Tigers on a special evening – the Panthers’ Senior Night.
This matchup was especially significant as it pitted the PCL 3A league’s top two teams against each other. The Tigers came into the game perched at the summit of the league with a formidable 8-0-1 record, while the Panthers closely trailed in second place with a 6-0-2 standing. The result was a thrilling, physical encounter that had soccer fans on the edge of their seats from the opening whistle.
Right from the get-go, it was clear that this match would be different.
The first half showcased a blistering pace, with both teams’ defenses standing tall against relentless attacks. Despite the intensity, neither side managed to break the deadlock, and it was the Panthers’ tenacious defense led by goalkeeper Reese Snider-Walsh that held firm, even when the Tigers turned up the heat in the final minutes of the half. As the whistle blew, the scoreboard remained a pristine 0-0.
The second half ignited with action, and it was the Panthers who struck first. In the 47th minute, Kenna Ucab’s skillful play set up Anne Anderson, who in turn found Jaylee Reynolds deep in enemy territory. Reynolds’ pinpoint pass led to Grace Atkinson’s brilliant half-volley strike from 20 yards out, sending the ball nestled in the side netting.
However, the Tigers roared back immediately, leveling the score at 1-1 with a well-executed penalty kick in the 48th minute.
The excitement didn’t end there. In the 57th minute, Stadium charged down the field and notched their second goal, taking a 2-1 lead. But the Panthers refused to be denied, as they rallied to equalize once more. In the 60th minute, Grace Atkinson’s high-press challenge to win the ball created a shot on the goal resulting in a tough save by the goalkeeper. Jaylee Reynolds’ read the flow of play and her determined follow-up shot saw the ball find the back of the net as she beat two defenders, making it 2-2, where the scoreline ultimately stood at the final whistle.
With the final whistle, both teams shared the honors in a thrilling draw.
The Panthers will now look ahead to their last game of the year, which will see them locking horns with the third-placed Silas Rams at Silas High School on October 24th. The fierce competition in this match serves as a testament to the electrifying talent on display in girls’ high school soccer, promising more excitement in the days to come.