The last four years of 5A girls soccer has been headlined by the Olympus Titans and the Skyline Eagles, with the Titans winning the title in 2020 and the Eagles with three since 2019.

So, when the two met Monday evening, it meant more than just a Region 6 victory on the line.

However, Skyline showed why it’s the favorite to take the 5A crown this year with a convincing 3-1 victory over Olympus.

Despite the final score, the Eagles struggled to generate much offense in the first half, and it was the Titans who took control early thanks to strong defense and a goal from Anna Neff.

After the goal, the Olympus defense stayed a step ahead of the Skyline offense and kept the back-to-back champions scoreless in the first half.

With its offense struggling, The Eagles’ coaching staff knew adjustments had to be made at halftime.  

“These kids don’t quit,” said Skyline head coach Yamil Castillo. “We made little adjustments. We say, ‘Hey, they took four shots and scored one goal, we took three shots and two came from the defenders.’

“We said we needed to shoot more from the middle, and we scored two goals. It was incredible and they were very determined to go all the way down.”

The luck turned quickly in favor of the Eagles after intermission, with Olivia Leonard finding the equalizer 18 seconds into the half.

Immediately after the ensuing kickoff, Skyline gained control and Carys Zacharopoulos got the go-ahead goal less than 20 seconds after the first. Within 40 seconds the Eagles had taken a 2-1 lead.

“I think the energy in the second half is what made the difference,” said Zacharopoulos. “I think we were all just wanting to beat Olympus for the last time since half of us are seniors. I think it was just such an amazing opportunity for us just to really go out there and push our limits.

“The mentality was to just shoot. Let’s get this, let’s complete this half and let’s just go out there and give it our all because half of it is all about just competing. This is our home territory. We wanted to finish this, and I think in the opening 40 seconds, that’s where all the energy came from.”

If the dominant opening minute wasn’t enough, the stifling Eagle defense throughout the second half was, as Skyline kept the ball on Olympus’ side seemingly the entire time.

With just three minutes remaining, the Eagles put the nail in the coffin with a goal from Jenna Nichols for the 3-1 win.

“They’ve been playing together for a long time, and they know each other,” Castillo said. “They trust in each other and when the game was on the line, they did the job. I mean the passing, the first touches and those shots made the difference, and defenses win championships. That’s the same defense that won them the last two titles. I know they’re going to get the job done.

“Last year we were the 10 seed. We won back-to-back championships and the only team who beat us twice was Olympus. These kids remember what happened last year.”