Sometimes all it takes is one good chance.
Seattle Prep head coach Andy Hendricks told his team all they had to do was put the ball over the other team’s goal one more time than their own, and that’s what Seattle Prep did to beat Southridge 1-0 and claim the 3A girls soccer state championship.
Seattle Prep (22-0-1) has been here before. The Panthers have missed the state tournament just once in the last 16 years and have played in the state title game six times. It is the Panthers third state title after claiming back-to-back championships in 2010 and 2011.
“It was a lot of pressure, because a lot of people were expecting us to go all the way,” said Seattle Prep midfielder Sophie Hirst. “It was what Mr. Hendricks said before. It’s one thing to have the expectation, but it’s another to execute.”
Seattle Prep’s aggressive offense was matched against a stout Southridge defense. The Panthers dominated for most of the game, outshooting Southridge 15-3. The Suns didn’t have a shot on goal until the 47th minute.
“It was frustrating, because we had really good crosses and really good chances, but I just knew we were going to put one away,” said Hirst. “I wasn’t too worried about that.”
Hirst scored the game-winner in the 51st minute. The sophomore midfielder got the ball from about 38-yards out and weaved through Southridge defenders until she took a shot from 13-yards out.
“It’s not a pleasant experience to go up against our shooters, and Sophie’s one of them,” Hendricks said.
Hirst either scored or assisted on all of Seattle Prep’s three goals in the state semifinals and championship.
While Seattle Prep is experienced in the state tournament, Hendricks pointed out this game was new for this group of players, who made semifinals two years ago.
It was especially new for three players who replaced injured starters over the last two weeks. Seattle Prep lost forward Mars Conn, defender Bea Franklin, and defender Laura Roberts to injury and the Panther bench had to fill in for the state tournament.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever coached a team that could lose three starters and win a state championship,” Hendricks said. “Usually you’re a starter or two from getting exposed. We’re deep.”
Southridge (18-3-0) had several good looks in the second half, including a free kick in the 77th minute from 18 yards out, but the Suns couldn’t put one away.
Seattle Prep goalkeeper Audrey Aggen recorded the shutout.
Third place: Edmonds-Woodway 2, Arlington 0.
A year after winning its first state soccer championship, Edmonds-Woodway beat Arlington 2-0 to place third in state.
Edmonds-Woodway head coach Bill LeCompete said he’s proud of his team for what they accomplished this season, especially after opening the season with a tough loss to Mercer Island.
“They just had a good perspective about clean up our mistakes, and they went out and worked for each other and gave to each other,” LeCompte said. “To be able to move the ball we do is pretty impressive at this level.”
Warriors midfielder Emily Syberg got Edmonds-Woodway (19-2-2) on the board in the 22nd minute off a lofted shot from 15 yards out.
Thirteen minutes later, Edmonds-Woodway scored off defender Emily Carden’s corner kick to the near goal post. Arlington goalkeeper Kat Sanchez jumped to block to shot, and the ball bounced off her hands into the goal.
Down by two goals at the half, Arlington (17-6-0) turned up the heat. The Eagles took 19 shots in the second half, eight of which came from forward Danielle Baker. However, Arlington couldn’t finish, mostly due to Edmonds-Woodway goalkeeper Hannah Hicks.
Hicks had her share of spectacular saves, recording 11 total in the game. A sophomore, Hicks stepped into the role for the first time this season. This was her 15th shutout this year.
“You just sit there and to see how much growth between freshman year and sophomore year and just the growth and confidence she’s gotten through this season is just phenomenal,” LeCompte said.