Good Start to the Playoffs
Highline 5 Whatcom 0
Team Advances to Semi-Finals
Nov. 9 – Rayna Santiago was still a little sore but she was ready to play after missing two games with back issues. And play she did, scoring twice in the first nine minutes of the match to get the Thunderbirds a quick lead that would never be threatened. Whatcom did tighten its defense after Highline’s initial flurry and was still in the contest, trailing 2-0 at halftime. It was in the second half that the T-Birds blew the match open. A header by Alyssa Andrews at 47 minutes off a well-placed corner by Kaiti Hamilton was followed by Cassidy O’Dell fighting her way past a Whatcom defender and delivering a perfect cross that Hannah Anderson headed in at 55 minutes. And for the capper, Taylor Mitchell scored from the goal crease at 71 minutes off a well-deserved assist by Sophia Leer.
Highline (16-0-1) moves on to play Walla Walla (18-0-2) in the semi-finals on Nov. 15 at 3pm at the Starfire Soccer Complex. Highline and Walla Walla are ranked #3 and #2 respectively in the latest NWAC Coaches poll. The winner will advanced to the championship match on Nov. 17.
Four Goals Against Whatcom
Rayna Santiago about to score her second goal against Whatcom at 9 minutes, assisted by Abby Carmel.
Hannah Anderson at 55 minutes off a cross from the right corner by Cassidy O’Dell.
Alyssa Andrews with the header at 47 minutes from a corner by Kaiti Hamilton.
Taylor Mitchell from point-blank range at 71 minutes, assisted by Sophia Leer.
And Now the Playoffs
After winning the NWAC West Division, and with a first round bye in the playoffs, Highline will host a semi-final match on Nov. 9 at 12pm at the Starfire Soccer Complex in Tukwila. It’s opponent will be determined in the regional playoff games on Nov. 6. The team will enter the playoffs with a perfect 14-0-0 league record (15-0-1 in season), the league’s best scoring defense in giving up only five goals all season, and a #3 ranking in the latest NWAC Coaches Poll. The Thunderbirds have had 12 different players score goals, led by Hannah Anderson (12), Rayna Santiago (10), and Abby Carmel and Skyylerblu Johnson, each with six goals. Kate Nelson has started every game in goal and is second in the league with 11 shutouts.
Kate Nelson has 11 shutouts in goal for Highline.
Hannah Anderson leads Highline with 11 goals.
Highline 5 Centralia 0
Oct. 26 – it was only right that Hannah Jenkins scored her first goal of the season in Highline’s regular season game. Jenkins, a sophomore defender, is the backbone of a Thunderbird defense that has allowed a league low five goals in 16 matches. Her goal, at 79 minutes, came as she sneaked up on a corner kick and found herself with a clear shot at the Trailblazer goal. She didn’t miss. Her goal, along with goals by Hannah Anderson, Cassidy O’Dell, Taylor Mitchell,and Skyylerblu Johnson, was indicative of how the team has shared the scoring load this season. Anderson’s goal, her 11th of the season, gives her the team lead with Rayna Santiago, who she was tied with, sat for the second straight game with an injury.
With a short bench and players missing matches with injuries, the Thunderbirds finish the regular season with a remarkable 15-0-1 season record and 14-0-0 in league play. As NWAA West Division champions the T-Birds get a first-round bye, giving the team a chance to rest and get some injured players back.
Cortney Cullison has been a steadying influence all year in the midfield and on defense.
Taylor Mitchell, taking on two Centralia defenders at midfield, had Highline’s third goal against the Trailblazers.
Easing Past Green River
Oct. 23 – Highline 4 Green River 0
Playing somewhat sluggishly and with its top goal scorer, Rayna Santiago, out with an injury, Highline still managed to defeat the Green River Gators 4-0 in a match at the Starfire Soccer Complex. The Thunderbirds spread out its scoring, with Abby Carmel (assisted byTaylor Mitchell) getting her 6th goal of the year at 9 minutes, Hanna Anderson scoring her 10th goal from a penalty kick at 25 minutes, Kaiti Hamilton scoring her 3rd goal of the season at 45 minutes, assisted by Cassidy O’Dell, and finally Lilya Stepchuk, with her 2nd goal, at 86 minutes from another assist by O’Dell. Kate Nelson fended off five Green River shots to record her 10th shutout of the year, tying her with Josie Gunter of Walla Walla.
With one match left on the schedule against Centralia on Oct. 26 (note: the Oct. 31 match against Grays Harbor has been cancelled), the team has clinched first place in the NWAC West Division with a 12-0-0 conference record (13=0-1 season).
Cassidy O’Dell had two assists in the win over Green River.
Firmly in First
Highline 2 Bellevue 0
Oct. 19 – Highline scored once early and once late and playing its usual stifling defense, shut out the Bellevue Bulldogs 2-0. The win puts the Thunderbirds 12-0-1, 11-0-0) firmly in first place in the NWAC West Division as it remains one of three teams with no losses in the league. Bellevue (11-3-0, 9-2-0) stays in second place in the West Division, six points behind the T-Birds.
It was midfielder Kaiti Hamilton who scored first at 4 minutes from an assist by Rayna Santiago. The contest stayed close until Hannah Anderson scored her ninth goal of the year at 84 minutes, assisted by Abby Carmel, to give Highline some breathing room. Kate Nelson once again had the shutout in goal for the ninth time. The Thunderbirds through 13 matches have only allowed a league best five goals.
Lowering the Boom on Lower Columbia
Highline 6 Lower Columbia 0
Oct. 16 – Sophia Leer and Hannah Anderson each scored a pair of goals as Highline cruised past the Red Devils 6-0. Lyka Sally and Taylor Mitchell also contributed goals while Kate Nelson shut out the opposing team for the eighth time. The Thunderbirds improved to 11-0-1 for the season and 10-0-0 in conference, with a big game at Bellevue (11-2-0 season; 9-1-0 in league) coming up on Oct. 19.
Freshman defender Raquel Johnson (left) is one of the stalwarts of Highline’s league best scoring defense.
Blanking Grays Harbor
Oct. 13 – the Thunderbirds made the long trek to Grays Harbor worthwhile by defeating the Chokers 4-0. Highline spread its goal scoring around with tallies by Rayna Santiago (20 minutes), Hannah Anderson (30 minutes), Taylor Mitchell (50 minutes), and Cassidy O’Dell (85 minutes). Skyylerblu Johnson added two assists while Santiago and Anderson each had one. Kate Nelson recorded the shutout in goal for the T-Birds.
A Hard-Fought Win: Highline Edges Past Tacoma
Highline 3 Tacoma 2
Oct. 10 Katie Hamilton, suffering from a ferocious cold, probably should not have been playing. Luckily for Highline she was. With the contest tied at 2-2 in an intensely competitive contest, Hamilton scored her first goal of the year on a fluke play that provided the Thunderbirds the margin of victory. With the ball just outside the Tacoma goal crease, Hamilton lofted a ball towards the goal that Enciso, standing on the goal line, caught on the bounce and then bobbled. The ball went over her head and she spun around and caught it. Unfortunately for her and Tacoma, the ball was about two inches past the goal line, which made it a goal. At the 75 minute mark Highline swarmed all around the Tacoma goa with a shot ricocheting off the crossbar, another blocked by the Titan keeper Aliya Enciso, a subsequent shot blasting off the sidebar, and Highline was stopped from extending its lead. It was only after the Thunderbirds fought off a determined Tacoma flurry in injury time, with the ball loose in front of the T-Bird goal before keeper Kate Nelson make a forward lunging save, that the win was secured.
In addition to Hamilton’s goal, Highline also received scores from Skyyler Blue and Taylor Mitchell. Tacoma’s two goals came from the feet of Brennah Llanos and Lauren Glazebrook.
Highline, with its ninth consecutive win, now stands at 8-0-0 in league play (9-0-1 season) and in first place in the NWAC West Division.
Kaite Hamilton advances the ball against Isabella Weaver of Tacoma. Hamilton scored what proved to be the winning goal against the Titans.
Skyylerblu Johnson watches Tacoma keeper Aliya Enciso make a save. Johnson had Highline’s second goal, her fifth of the year, in Highline’s win over Tacoma
Highline 8 Pierce 0
Oct. 5 – Rayna Santiago scored three goals and five other Highline players found the back of the Pierce goal in the Thunderbirds’ 8-0 rout of Pierce College. Also joining the goal parade was Skyylerblu Johnson, Alyssa Andrews, Hannah Anderson, Taylor Mitchell, and returning back from an injury, Cassidy O’Dell. Hannah Anderson and Skyylerblu Johnson also recorded two assists each.
With the victory the T-Birds now stand at 7-0-0 in league (8-0-1 season), and in first place in the NWAC West Division with its winning streak at 8 matches. With only three goals allowed all year Highline now ranks as the stingiest defensive team in the NWAC. Highline next hosts Tacoma on Oct. 9. The Titans stand in 3rd place in the West Division with a 5-2-1 league record.
Rayna Santiago (#5) had three goals in Highline’s 8-0 thumping of Pierce.
Cruising Past Centralia
Highline 4 Centralia
Sept. 28 – shortly after being named the NWAC Player of the Week, Hannah Anderson showed that she very much deserved the honor in scoring two goals and adding an assist at the Thunderbirds defeated the host Centralia Trailblazers 4-0. Highline stretched its winning streak to seven matches and stands 7-0-1 for the season and 6-0-0 in conference play, six points ahead of second place Bellevue.
Skyylerblu Johnson opened the scoring for Highline with her third goal of the season at 21 minutes, assisted by Anderson. A goal by Anderson eight minutes later capped the first half scoring. Anderson struck again at 47 minutes for her second goal of the match and fourth of the season, assisted by Rayna Santiago. Lilya Stepchuk finished the scoring for the T-Birds by getting her first goal of the season at 72 minutes, with Santiago chalking up another assist.
Kate Nelson recorded the shutout, her fifth so far. As a team, Highline has surrendered three goals in eight matches.
Skyylerblu Johnson opened the scoring at 21 minutes in Highline’s win over Centralia.
HIGHLINE • SOPHOMORE • FORWARD
Reed High School • Sparks, NV
Anderson registered a pair of assists in a 3-1 win at sixth-ranked Tacoma. She followed that performance with a brace (two goals) and an assist in the Thunderbird’s 3-0 shutout of Green River.
“Hannah had two great games this week,” said Highline head coach Tom Moore. “Her energy and consistency in play helped us top one of the conference rivals Tacoma, and also got us on track against Green River. She has been a cornerstone with hard work for us this year and I’m glad it’s paying off for her as that helps us have success!”
(From the Northwest Athletics Conference)
Shutting Down Green River
Highline 3 Green River 0
Sept. 21 – Highline played a rare night game at Green River and came away with a 3-0 win over the Gators. Hannah Anderson scored the first and third goals at 35 and 75 minutes for her first two goals of the year.. She also assisted on Abby Carmel’s goal at 66 minutes. Kaiti Hamilton and Lilya Stepchuk also recorded assists.
Highline improves to 5-0-0 in the NWAC West Division and 6-0-1 for the season. Green River falls to 1-2-1 in conference play and 3-2-2 overall. The Thunderbirds get a much needed week off before traveling to Centralia on Sept. 28.
Abby Carmel scored her fifth goal of the season in Highline’s 3-0 win at Green River on Sept. 21
Easing Past Tacoma
Highline 3 Tacoma 1
Sept. 18 – Rayna Santiago scored her 6th goal of the season five minutes into the contest and Highline never looked back, getting past the Tacoma Titans 3-1. Subsequent goals by Alyssa Andrews (19 minutes) and Abby Carmel (38 minutes) gave the Thunderbirds a 3-0 halftime lead and Tacoma’s only goal at 62 minutes by Lindsay Chaffee resulted from a penalty kick caused by Highline committing a handball infraction in the goal crease. With the win Highline moves to 4-0-0 in conference play (5-0-1 season) and first place in the NWAC West Division.
The T-Birds play Sept. 21 at Green River and then get a much needed week off before traveling to Centralia on Sept. 28.
Head Coach Tom Moore with some last minute instructions in the match against Tacoma.
A Most Improbable Win
Sept. 11 – the Thunderbirds, behind the goal keeping of freshman Kate Nelson and the lone goal of the match at 88 minutes by freshman Abigail Carmel (assisted by Kaiti Hamilton), scored a 1-0 win over the Bellevue Bulldogs. Highline improves to 3-0-1 while Bellevue falls to 3-2-0.
What made the win so improbable is that on a warm, late summer afternoon the Thunderbirds played one player short for almost all of the first half. For a variety of reasons the T-Birds started out shorthanded and spent the first 45 minutes fending off a barrage of Bellevue shots as the Bulldogs dominated time of possession. Nelson, in goal for Highline, showed poise beyond a freshman in her fourth game in made a series of saves to keep the game scoreless. In all, she recorded 10 saves. As so the game remained scoreless until the 88th minute, when on a scramble in front of the Bellevue goal Carmel scored her second goal of the year. And so, playing shorthanded for almost half the match, not being able to substitute on a very warm day, and largely on the defense, Highline managed the win. Improbably.
Kate Nelson in goal for Highline against Bellevue
Abby Carmel scored the only goal of the match.
Women’s Soccer: So Far So Good
Sept. 7 – the Thunderbirds improved its early season record to 2-0-2 with a 4-0 win over Lower Columbia. Rayna Santiago and Skyylerblu Johnson each tallied a pair of goals. Kate Nelson had the shutout in goal. With her two goals, Santiago teads the team with four scored, while Savannah Nichols leads with three assists.
The team next hosts Bellevue on Sept. 11 at the Starfire Soccer Complex, followed by another home match on Sept. 14 against Pierce College.
Forward Hannah Anderson fights for ball possession in the win over Lower Columbia (Sept. 7).
2019 Highline Women’s Soccer Team
Back Row (L to R): Raquel Johnson; Hannah Jenkins; Cassidy O’Dell; Rayna Santiago; Cortney Cullison; Savannah Nichols; Alyssa Andrews
Front Row (L to R): Sophia Leer; Hannah Anderson; Kaitlyn Hamilton; Abigail Carmel; Skyylerblu Johnson; Lilya Stepchuk; Kate Nelson