Baylee Wright was as good as gold for the Washougal girls soccer team on senior night.
The senior center midfielder delivered the tying and winning goals that helped the Panthers defeat Mark Morris 2-1 in overtime Oct. 27, at Fishback Stadium.
“There was quite a battle in front of the net, and I volleyed it in,” Wright said. “It was very nerve-wracking. We needed that goal for senior night to be unforgettable.”
Sophomore Hannah Eakins threaded the ball to Wright on the fly. She then got involved in the scramble with Wright, and was credited with an assist on the winning goal.
“I was just covering for Baylee, so she could put it back in,” Eakins said. “It was crazy.”
The score remained 0-0 until Mark Morris was rewarded with a penalty shot in the 58th minute and converted for a 1-0 advantage. Eakins earned a penalty kick for the Panthers about two minutes later.
“I turned around to shoot, and the defender grabbed my arm and threw me to the ground,” Eakins said.
“Nobody wanted to take the kick, so I just grabbed the ball and took it,” Wright said. “I shot it off the keeper’s hands and it landed in the net. That was a huge goal. We still had a chance.”
Washougal senior goalkeeper Kat Moua secured seven saves in the game. She kept hope alive, and then Eakins and Wright finished the deal four minutes into overtime.
Head coach Joey Fleming said Wright has been a pleasant surprise since making the switch from defense to offense. The Panthers needed a new striker after Sierra Coloma tore her ACL.
“This was my seventh goal. It all started with that header at Mark Morris,” Wright said. “Don’t ever give up on any ball, even if there is a player right in front of you. Even if you run into them, you’re still making progress. And sometimes, you can still get that ball in the net.”
Eakins has assisted on the majority of the decisive goals by Wright.
“It’s better because Baylee loves to follow up and attack every ball,” Eakins said. “Whatever I send to her is going to look good.”
Washougal and Hockinson tied for second place in league, but the Hawks gained the number-two seed based on goal differential.
The Panthers traveled to Tumwater Saturday, and came up short 3-1 in the first round of the district tournament. Moua notched nine saves.
“It was a tough first round draw, from the weather to the travel to the opponent,” Fleming said. “It’s win or go home now. That gives us all the motivation we need.”
Kiara Kallie spin-kicked in the tying goal for Washougal before halftime. Katie Boon got the ball in the box on a corner kick, and Zoey Brimhall served it up to Kallie.
“It was a tough finish,” Fleming said. “She jumped and turned all in one motion. That goal uplifted the girls.”
The Panthers put another ball in the net about 25 minutes into the second half, but the officials signaled offsides and the goal didn’t count. Tumwater regained the lead from there, and added an insurance goal.
“It was classic soccer,” Fleming said. “You had a chance to go up by one, and four minutes later, you’re down by one.”
Washougal (11-5-1) hosts R.A. Long in a loser-out game tonight, at Fishback Stadium. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.
“I think we are in a good position to bounce back from this,” Fleming said. “It’s just about resiliency.”