The Skyline Spartan girls soccer team won their first home game of the season on Saturday, Sept. 16, with a thrilling 4-2 victory over the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups.
The match began with what appeared to be equal possession of the ball but gradually shifted as the Spartans stepped up their offense. Ten minutes in, Spartan captain Ariana Ellison took control and scored.
Spartan coach Don Braman credited Ellison as a key player of the night.
“I thought Ariana [Ellison] did a great job up front … moving off the ball and creating difficult matchups for Gonzaga Prep,” he said.
Bullpup Jennah Wanner, unwilling to let the Spartan goal go unanswered, worked the ball toward the other end of the field and soon tied the score.
Spartan captain Ashley Roni missed her first two shots at goal but made up for it quickly with a score soon after Wanner’s, assisted by junior Reed Moore. Roni’s goal gave the lead back to the Spartans for a 2-1 advantage.
In the 18th minute of the first half, tensions rose as the Bullpups, showing off some impressive ball handling, dribbled towards the Spartan goal. But the game was halted when officials declared their player offside, and Spartan fans breathed a sigh of relief.
As play resumed, the Spartans put in Jillian McBride, who quickly made her presence known as she assisted Rhen Ericson with the third Spartan goal of the game for a more comfortable 3-1 lead to close the first half.
The Bullpups came out fighting in the second half and quickly moved the ball downfield, getting off a shot on goal only to be thwarted with a save by Spartan Avery Kuipers. As things got heated, officials called a foul on the Spartans and awarded a free kick to the Bullpups, who were unable to make the goal. Moments later, Bullpup Julia Few scored, bringing the match to 3-2.
As frustrations mounted for both teams, the Spartans would need to step up their defense to hold their advantage. Aggressive play resulted in back-to-back fouls on both the Spartans and Bullpups, each being awarded a free kick but no additional goals.
The ball went back and forth with both teams sharing almost equal possession. A missed shot on goal by McBride led to the most exciting Spartan play of the game. Ellison recovered McBride’s miss and quickly redirected it to Arya Oskouian, who then fired at the goal and left Bullpups goalkeeper Amelia Pellie — as well as all the spectators — stunned. The Spartan lead expanded to 4-2.
Coach Braman was proud of his team and excited for the win.
“Those players are working really hard for us right now and it was nice to see them combined with Jillian [McBride] on that last goal,” he said.
In the end, the Spartans brought home a 4-2 victory for their home opener.
The Spartans’ next match is against Bellevue High School on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at Spartan Stadium at 7:00 p.m.