Our opening round game in the state tournament was coincidentally scheduled on election day, which made me think of a quote from the great Italian soccer coach Carlo Ancelotti:"Football is the most important of the less important things in the world.".For many of us, the BHS vs Stanwood game was the most important of the less important things in the world on Tuesday. Certainly more important things were happening across the country, but it was nice to be blissfully ignorant of the outside world and focused on the task of winning a high school soccer game. Our opponent was a scrappy and tough Stanwood team that had survived a wesco league playoff gauntlet of 4 games since we beat LW in the Kingco league championship. The Spartans were weary, but battle-tested. Our 10 days of rest since our last competitive match was double-edged. Yes, we were well rested, but we lacked the same composure and sharpness we displayed at the end of our season. It's understandable. But frustrating.Our first 40 minutes versus Stanwood were jittery, nervous and sloppy. We managed a meager two shots in the first half. A season low. And it wasn't because Stanwood were defensive stalwarts. We just weren't very good. Our passes were either too heavy or too light, our first touches too imprecise, and our movement too static and predictable. Yes, the turf was slick with evening dew, but considering the weather we have been playing in over the last three weeks, the conditions were as good as it could get. 0-0 at halftime: 2 shots for Bellevue, none for Stanwood. Yawn. Not a great advertisement for the "beautiful game." We were much better in the 2nd half. We began to create chances and it seemed like just a matter of time before the scoreless dam broke. And Ellie was our dam-buster in the 58th minute. Katie F attacked an excellent Sophie corner kick, the Stanwood goalie made the first save, but Ellie was in the right place to stab home the rebound to extend our unbeaten season and secure our place in the state quarterfinals. Highlights:Sophie hit an amazing free kick in the first half that was our only highlight in the first 40 minutes, she was unlucky her drive clanged off of the left post, it was so sweetly struck that it deserved better; Madi was calm and composed at keeper throughout, making catches look easy on a slippery evening, and charging off her line to snuff out any danger when necessary; I loved how we killed off the game in the last five minutes of the game in the Stanwood corner, that was tactically intelligent soccer by Sophie, Carly. Paige and Jojo to keep the ball over such a long period of time deep in the opposition half. Beautiful in its blunt practicality. I'll send more information as we get it, but undefeated Gig Harbor was beaten by Roosevelt 2-0 which means our quarter-final will be in Seattle sometime in the next 3-4 days. That no1 ranked Gig Harbor lost to unranked Roosevelt is a good lesson that anything can happen in the playoffs. And every opponent deserves our respect regardless of regular season records. Stay tuned for more details. Player of the GameEllie Bryant (2107)Mid-air collisions: check. Hard tackles to sort out midfield superiority: check. Smooth switches and tight ball control: check.Fouling a Stanwood forward while lying on her back in the corner: check. Bloody lip & loose tooth: check (but you should've seen the other girl)Game-winning goal in the state tournament: check. For all of this and more, Ellie Bryant is the player of the game against Stanwood. Well done Ellie. Toughness and grace personified.