IHS soccer celebration

Ilwaco players celebrate after their second-year program reaches the district soccer playoffs.

ILWACO — Elle Personius scored in the first half, Justyce Patana clinched the game with a goal on a pass from Paige Frank with four minutes remaining, and Faith Richardson pitched a shutout in goal as Ilwaco secured the district eighth seed with a 2-0 home victory over Toutle Lake on Monday, Oct. 28.

Both teams were playing for the final playoff seed at Districts; Ilwaco’s first-round game will be at Napavine Wednesday, Oct. 30.

Patana had gone down with a knee injury, possibly an LCL tear, in Wednesday’s game against Life Christian, but wanted desperately to play in the do-or-die game.

She was effective, though perhaps without the ultra-quick change-of-direction moves she has when in top form.

“It was hurting…I couldn’t sprint at 100%, but I felt like I would have let the team down if I hadn’t played today,” Patana said.

Patana and fellow freshman Sarah Frank used clever passes to get into Toutle territory a couple of times in the early going, and Personius had a hard shot stopped by the goalkeeper in the seventh minute.

On the other end, Kaydence King came open and threatened to put Toutle on the board first, but Sunny Kemmer cut across the field to stymie her. Goalkeeper Faith Richardson saved a hard shot 20 minutes in.

Patana was then thwarted on a one-on-one move, but Ilwaco kept it in Toutle territory for a long stretch. Finally, Personius broke through, kicking diagonally through traffic to nail the front corner of the goal, giving Ilwaco a 1-0 29th minute lead.

“I saw a little gap,” Personius said. “I knew it would be a tough shot, but I also knew if I hit it to the far side of the net the goalie couldn’t possibly get to it.”

Ilwaco missed a couple of chances to pad the lead near the end of the half, and clung to the 1-0 lead most of the rest of the way. With 11 minutes to go, Kemmer made a stop on Haliegh Swofford after she dribbled around the defense.

“Sunny with her speed is a great sweeper,” Elle Personius said. “Our defense has been totally transformed since we put her back there.”

Kemmer and Serena Kuhn are the last defenders back for Ilwaco, and on Monday they kept Richardson from facing many good shots.

“Serena and I really work well together,” Kemmer said. “She’s a beast, very tough to get by, and then if they do somehow get by her I’m there to run them down.”

Toutle came up empty after a long trip in Ilwaco territory, and the Fishermen went on the offensive with six minutes to go.

Personius passed to Patana near the goal, where she came up short. Minutes later, though, Personius passed ahead to Paige Frank on the right side, and Frank found Patana with a cross-pass in close-range. Patana smoothly maneuvered in front of the goal and scored.

“The defender was right there, I kind of went in front of her, then back behind her, and just shot it over the goalie’s glove,” Patana said.

“The goalie was off her line, and Justyce put pressure on her,” said Personius, who trailed the play.

Patana’s goal secured the victory.

Ilwaco finished 2-7 in league play, while Toutle finished ninth at 1-8. Fifth-seed Napavine finished 5-4, including a 7-0 victory over Ilwaco. The winner of Wednesday’s Ilwaco-Napavine game will play at Onalaska Saturday, Nov. 2.

Aaron Mead is a sports writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact him at 360-642-8181 or aaroncmead@gmail.com.

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