Missed opportunities, penalties play role in 3-0 loss to Kings

 

BELLINGHAM — Kings has been a thorn in Lynden Christian’s side the past three seasons at districts.This year it was no different.

 

For the third-straight year, the Lyncs fell to the Knights in the district title game, this time a 3-0 loss at Whatcom Community College Saturday afternoon.

 

The loss sends the Lyncs (9-7-1) to a winner-to-state game at bi-districts at 5 p.m., Thursday, at Granite Falls High School. They’ll play the winner of Bush (7-5) and Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) (10-7).

 

The Lyncs will still be alive with a loss in that game, sending them to a loser-out, winner-to-state match. LC is looking for its first state berth since 2018 after missing the state playoffs last season.

 

“That has to be our focus,” LC coach Brent DeRuyter said. “We have to flush this one and say, ‘OK, Thursday’s about going to state.’ Plain and simple. The rest is icing on the cake for seeding.”

Mellema

Lynden Christian junior Emily Mellema nearly scores in the first half when Kings' keeper falls near the net. (Eric Trent/Lynden Tribune)

Against Kings, the storyline of the day was missed opportunities.

 

The two teams battled to a scoreless tie in the first half, with LC narrowly missing out on a couple prime shots on goal, including one where the Knight’s keeper fell to the ground. But Kings’ defenders were able to deflect the shot before damage was done.

 

“That’s what we need to focus on in the coming week if we want to become that type of program,” DeRuyter said. “We have to finish when teams give us chances.”

 

Those shots were the closest LC would get to scoring again.

 

Kings scored two minutes into the second half, then tacked on another one off a baffling penalty that gave the Knights a PK from just 10-yard out directly in front of LC’s goal.

Kroontje

Lynden Christian freshman Grace Kroontje goes for a header against a Kings player during the Lyncs' 3-0 loss on Saturday. (Eric Trent/Lynden Tribune)

The Lyncs found themselves in a 2-0 hole and battled against penalties as much as they did the Knights the rest of the way. The physicality they used to go toe-to-toe with the Knights in the first half suddenly resulted in free kicks for the Knights.

 

“I thought because of the district title they would allow us to play how we played the first half,” DeRuyter said. “It’s disappointing things changed for some reason.”

 

Kings scored one more in the final two minutes to put the game out of reach and give LC the No. 2 seed at bi-districts. Lyncs’ midfielder Emily Mellema said the team was well aware of its losing streak to Kings, they just couldn’t put the Knights away.

 

“It’s always something you have in the back of your head, but we had that mindset coming into it to get over the hump,” Mellema said. “We’ll find a different way. Obviously we didn’t get this one, but we have different ways of getting to state so I think we’ll be fine.”

Dykstra

Lynden Christian senior Riley Dykstra boots the ball during the Lyncs' 3-0 loss to Kings on Saturday. (Eric Trent/Lynden Tribune)

 

Despite missing out on the automatic bid to state, the Lyncs are still just one win away from securing a spot at state.

 

DeRuyter said he’ll look over the game tape and figure out ways the team can do better in high-pressure situations, defensively, and have them primed for Thursday’s match.

 

“We’ll fix it,” DeRuyter said. “We’ll be ready by Thursday. These girls are pretty hungry. They’re going to let this one fester for a little bit. They’ll be ready.”