Dimond stops Service's streak for crown

Posted: Sunday, May 30, 2010

It had been 43 consecutive matches without a loss for the Service girls' soccer team, but in the final of the ASAA/First National Bank 2010 Alaska Soccer State Championships, the Cougars attempt at a third straight state title came to a halt.

Midway through the second half, Dimond freshman Lizzy Gogolowski set up for a free kick and drilled it 30 yards through the air, untouched into the back of the net.

With that, the Lynx were in control of the game, and the Cougars felt the pressure. As soon as the ball left Gogolowski's foot, she said she knew it was good.

"I was like, 'This better go in, because if it doesn't, I don't know what I'm going to do,'" Gogolowski said laughing.

As for being the best girls' high school soccer team in Alaska, she said this one feels especially good considering the opponent.

"It's amazing because Service thought they were going to win the whole time," Gogolowski said. "And we were the (No. 6 seed), the underdogs."

The Cougars streak of 43 straight games without a loss is an impressive feat, but after Gogolowski's shot went in, Service seemed deflated and was unable to create offense the rest of the match as the Lynx packed their defense into the box.

The Cougars were not allowed many opportunities to take a quality shot by the Dimond defense. Instead, Service began to press offensively as the clock became an issue.

For Dimond senior co-captain Kim Jones, the ending to this year was emotional and bittersweet. Prior to the season, Jones lost her father to a stroke, and she said she played the final game with his memory on her mind.

"It means everything to me," an emotional Jones said. "I did this for him and I know he would have been there."

Jones celebrated the improbable win over the powerhourse Service squad with her teammates.

"I can't believe it," she said. "It's a great feeling because we've been working hard for this my whole high school career."

Toward the end of the game, the Cougars tried to force balls into the teeth of the Dimond back line, but the Lynx maintained their composure under the constant pressure in the final minutes.

The Dimond sideline erupted as the final whistle blew following the Cougars' last attempt at a goal, and the players stormed the field in celebration of the upset of the No. 1 team in the tournament.

For the Cougars, the loss ended their streak, as well as their run at a third straight state title, but Service coach Mark Cascolan said despite the loss, what his girls accomplished is a feat for which they should be proud.

"They had some great effort. They played for each other and they played for themselves. For the seniors, it was a wonderful four years," he said. "Not many people can be in the state finals three years of their high school career. They did some great things out there, but we just came a little unlucky today."

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