Bellevue 1-0 Shorecrest
25th min Mia (Cami)
To paraphrase the Broadway version of Alexander Hamilton, we're not throwing away our shot. We're young, scrappy, and hungry...and we're not throwing away our shot. Later today we will line up at the centerline of Sparks Stadium for the 3A State Championship final against a very talented Roosevelt team. Today we will rely on the countless memories of breathtakingly beautiful soccer we have produced all season. Moments of class, speed, poise, and collective toughness. i'm confident that our best soccer is still in front of us. We are not throwing away our shot. The magic number is one.
We spent all week preparing for Shorecrest, poring over film and looking for tactical advantages and mismatches. But in the end, the difference wasn't tactical adjustments, it was simply solid defense, gritty effort, and a moment of pure individual magic. In the 25th minute, Cami caught the Shorecrest right fullback trying to dribble her way out of midfield and got a toe to the ball to poke it away. Mia picked up the loose ball and charged directly at the center of the Shorecrest backline, which still had three defenders in a good position. But Cami didn't stop, she sprinted down the left wing in support of Mia, giving her an option in attack. And that supporting run was enough to spread the Shoreline defenders wider than they would've liked, and Mia sprinted through the gap, outracing the chasers and calmly slotting the ball back to the lower right side of the goal. So sweet. 1-0 Bellevue.
And that was that. Our team defense was exceptional. We covered for each other. We channeled Shorecrest attackers into less dangerous areas of the field. And our goalkeeper exuded calm confidence throughout and dealt with the few speculative shots that were launched at our goal. And most importantly, we began to play flowing Bellevue soccer for extended periods of the second half. Playoff soccer can get very choppy and frenetic, and it is a challenge to maintain some calm and pass out of congested areas of the field. And although we didn't score another goal from our extended phases of possession, it is a very good signal that we are getting better at dealing with playoff intensity.
At the final whistle we took a moment to celebrate, and then almost immediately began to plan, focus, and prepare for Roosevelt. Extended State tournament runs are precious. A team needs to stay healthy, play well, and avoid unlucky referee decisions or other variables that are impossible to control. So it's a credit to our girls for earning a spot in today's final. They have persevered and earned every win with collective effort and contributions from the entire roster. We're not going to throw away our shot.
Magic number is one.
See you at Sparks.