Bellevue 1-0 Roosevelt
27th min 1-0 Lily (unassisted). direct from corner
No more magic numbers. No more shootouts. And a very big trophy.
There is still only one member of Club Perfect in the entire state of Washington. At any classification. 20 wins. No ties. No losses. Our girls are the 2022 3A State Champions.
Like last weekend's quarterfinal, the game itself suffered from being scheduled a mere 24 hours after intense semi-finals for both teams. So there were weary legs on both sides. Which is why my first reflection on our win is that it was a TEAM win. We used almost the entire roster in the final, and every player who stepped on the field gave it their all for their teammates. Of course, the cornerstone of our victory was our dedication to team defense. We ask all 11 players to contribute to defending, and yesterday we needed them all. From our rock-steady backline, to our tenacious midfielders, and our counter-pressing forwards and wingers who had to chase overlapping fullbacks all night. And our goalkeeper was outstanding. Just outstanding. But outstanding in a championship final doesn't just happen. On Monday of this week we gave the girls the day off to recover from our "shootout" weekend. But two players organized their own training session on our day off: our goalkeeper sorority, Amirah and Sabrina (and coach Imad). Championships and perfect seasons are built on thin margins: last-minute come-from-behind goals against LW in the regular season, three narrow 4-3 shootout victories, excellent corner kicks that rebound off the post and into the goal, and the dedication of two players doing extra work when they weren't required to do so for the benefit of their team. So in a state championship that required the contribution of every player on our roster, I want to give special recognition to Amirah and Sabrina. Thank you.
The first half ebbed and flowed with most of the play in midfield. Both teams showed flashes of skillful possession soccer, but strong defenses prevented most combinations from becoming dangerous chances. Then in the 27th minute. Lexi took a throw-in deep in the Roosevelt half on our right wing. Hinana, Kendall, and Leah pressed as a pack, forcing a turn-over. Leah picked up the loose ball. cut back inside. and launched a rocket shot that seemed destined for the upper corner but the Roosevelt keeper made a reflex save to push the ball over the top for a corner. Lily took the corner and smashed a perfect in-swinger that hit the far post and rebounded off of a defender and into the goal. 1-0 Bellevue. Thin margins.
In the second half, defending a lead, it was natural that we would sit a bit deeper and absorb Roosevelt pressure, playing for counter-attacks. And that's what we did. This season, our team allowed 7 goals over 20 games, recording 14 shutouts. One goal was all we needed. And yes, Roosevelt created more chances than we did as we closed out the game, they are an excellent team with very very good players. Of course they would press hard for an equalizer late in the last possible game of the season. But again, our team defense was excellent. Committed. Relentless. Final whistle and our we earned the lifetime title of 2022 3A State Champion.
I'm beyond happy for this team but especially happy for our 8 seniors. It's a rare thing to play your entire senior season without a blemish. So thank you to Cami Johnson, Emily Wang, Josie Moss, Arin Oh, Emma Cody, Sabrina Leguizamon, and captains Amirah Haque and Hinana Takashima. You have left an indelible mark on our program. Thank you.
And thank you to all of the supporters who braved the cold yesterday at Sparks. Our team victory doesn't just include a full roster of selfless teenagers, it is a dedicated staff of coaches, administrators, booster club volunteers, and parents. Thank you for laundered parkas, snack packs, team dinners, last-minute trips to school to bring your daughter her forgotten shinguards and soccer shoes, Jimmy Johns on the bus, banners hung before home games, scout game videos, website updates, parent team managers, and student-team managers who shout encouragement for the entire 80 minutes at every game. Thank you. I love this program. Because it is a program of many.
See you at the banquet tomorrow night.