Bellevue 0-1 Kamiakin
Only four teams in the state in 3A got the privilege of concluding their season on Saturday, November 18th, and I couldn't be prouder that we were one of the last teams competing on the final weekend. Similar to our game versus Stadium, we didn't get a result we wanted on Saturday in our consolation game, but we did get every single rostered field player into the game which was my primary goal. And the BHS trophy case just got a bit fuller with the addition our 4th place award. It is a testament to our high expectations of excellence, that 4th place at the State tournament tastes more bitter than sweet. But over time, I'm confident that the sweetness will overcome the bitter and we'll look back on this extraordinary playoff run for what it has been: extraordinary.
The game itself was probably what you'd expect from two teams who had played fiercely competitive semi-finals less than 24 hours before: a bit ragged and a step slow all over the field. Both teams gave full effort, but legs were heavy, and several of our shots didn't have the same "pop" that we're accustomed to seeing (@#$!@!%! Spalding! Ask your daughters, they will know what I'm referring to...). For the second consecutive game, we created plenty of quality chances on goal, but the soccer gods had a different script written for this final four weekend. And it didn't include any last minute heroics for our team.
The bus ride back to Bellevue was somber, especially for our beloved seniors who had just played their last game in the navy blue, gold and white. However, once we got back to campus, I was proud of how our girls came together in uniform one last time, gave each other hugs, and expressed how much this team had meant to all of them. We have so many different personalities on this team, but the beauty of sport is that through collective competition, suffering and joy, each unique personality is united towards a common purpose. And even if that purpose isn't fully realized in the course of a single season (a state championship) the bonds that have been formed over the past three months, or four years, will always remain.
I'm proud of this team. I'm proud of this program. Thank you to Coach Kay, Fikay and Amanda. They pour themselves into this program and care very much for our players as athletes, students and maturing teenagers; our athletic trainer (and new mom) Sarah Wait for going way beyond the call of duty and staying with our girls in the training room for ice baths and treatment after physically exhausting games; to our boosters and team managers for making this program run as smoothly as it does with try-outs, uniform distribution, heavy tubs of rain parks hauled to each game, shelters constructed and dried in garages, travel logistics, senior nights, announcers, videographers, fund-raising, summer camp coordination, team-dinners, and all of the other tasks that get done in the background that enable our girls focus on their soccer with a maximum dose of fun included; a big thanks to our team photographers, Gunter & Stephanie. We are very fortunate to have such amazing photos of our team from every game this season with such amazing quality; finally, thank you to our seniors, I'll save specifics for our banquet, but they are special group of young women and I'm very thankful for their leadership.