Ellie Boon had a good excuse for missing the first round of the Washougal High School girls soccer practices. She was kicking the ball around with the best of the nation in the Olympic Development Program.
That did not excuse the 2009 2A Greater St. Helen’s League Offensive Player of the Year from getting in the mandatory amount of practices to become eligible for the Panthers. Boon did not expect anything less. She wanted to be ready in time for Washougal to face league rival Hockinson Thursday, in front of her hometown at Fishback Stadium.
“It’s definitely something you miss after a year,” Boon said. “It’s good to be back on the field, and helping this team win games. It’s my passion. I can’t describe it.”
Boon knocked in three goals in the first 25 minutes of the game. The Hawks kept pecking and scored two, before the Panthers banded together and persevered to a 3-2 victory.
“The first goal was crucial because it got their heads down. We were able to get three in before they got mad,” Boon said. “You can’t do that by yourself. Megan [O’Neill] and Nina [Pawelzick] were feeding me some beautiful balls. It’s not one person, it’s 11 people out there all working together. I can’t count my blessings enough.”
Maddy Down and the Washougal defenders put their bodies, feet and heads in front of the net. Goalkeeper Darcy Akers also snatched seven saves.
After sneaking in a goal before halftime, and striking again with 27 minutes, 42 seconds left in the game, Hockinson hungered for more. It would have been easy for the Panthers to give in to the Hawks, as they had done in the past. On Thursday, Washougal had more heart.
“It really showed how together we are,” Down said. “It’s about time we beat Hockinson. It feels fantastic.”
Boon said she knew the Panthers would be in for a battle. When Hockinson had their backs to the wall, she was impressed by how her teammates pushed back.
“Hockinson has been league champions for the last four years. I think it’s our time now,” she said. “I was very proud of the girl’s mentality. We were not going to let in that third goal. We were not going to lose this game. We kept our cool, grit our teeth and finished strong.”
Washougal opened league on the road Sept. 14, with a 4-0 victory over R.A. Long. Boon scored all four goals. Akers collected six saves.
Tonight, the Panthers host Woodland before playing at Mark Morris Thursday.
“It’s nice to see the hard work and the unity of the team,” said head coach Harrison Martin. “These girls are giving me 100 percent, all the time. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”