PUYALLUP — When Lake Washington scores an early goal, it has typically been an indicator for a Kangs win. That was no different in the 3A state semifinals when they scored in the 34th minute.
Lake Washington held off Central Kitsap 5-2 on Friday afternoon at Sparks Stadium by scoring in a hurry after each of the Cougars' two goals.
"When we score early, we haven’t lost a game," Lake Washington coach Ashton Staudacher said. "We usually keep scoring."
And score they did.
That helped the Kangs, who are playing in their first state playoffs since 2014, fend off a late push and ensure a spot in Saturday's 3A state championship.
"The girls worked their butts off and were able to score five goals against a good team," Staudacher said. "If that doesn’t get you into the state championship, I don’t know what will."
Kylie Jones scored twice — the first goal of the game on a header from a Savannah Walenczak cross — and Alex Mueller and Princeton commit Jen Estes each added another.
"We can play physical if we need to, so we definitely came to that challenge," Estes said.
Central Kitsap was the first team to score twice on the Kangs all season.
Paris Agana scored on a volley in the 43rd minute to equalize at 1-1 at the beginning of the second half. The Kangs countered and drew a penalty kick a minute later, which Mueller put away.
Estes' goal came in the 58th minute, when Ellie Pederson sent a CK defender into the turf, corralled the ball and sent a cross into the box, which Estes eventually slotted past the goalkeeper.
Lake Washington had only allowed five goals all season entering Friday's semifinal.
"They play an extremely confusing formation. It's confusing to try and defend against their attack and it worked, kudos to them," Staudacher said. "They're a great team, an aggressive team, clearly well-coached."