At practice on Friday, I asked the girls how many of them had played a game at Memorial Stadium. Given the extensive club soccer experience represented on our roster, I expected almost everyone to have had played at the ancient and iconic Seattle stadium at least once. But not a single player raised their hand. So when we arrived early, we took the time to enjoy the experience. Selfies were taken. We even did a mannequin challenge video. And the locker room was rockin'. But most importantly, after our 1-0 victory, each Bellevue player can claim a state quarterfinal win playing beneath the space needle. Memorial stadium is a great venue for soccer. What a cool night. One of our pre-game photos attached. (Incidentally,, three of the four BHS coaches had played, and won, a club state championship at Memorial in their playing career. Which is nice. Good mojo.) And our girls played beautifully. After a chaotic first 10 minutes when both teams pushed to find an early advantage, the game settled down and our girls dominated possession, especially in midfield. Jojo, Kiley, Carly, Joelle and Sophie put the Roosevelt back line under a tremendous amount of pressure, while Ellie and Katie held down the center of the park. Our corner kicks were very dangerous all night (we had 8 of them in the game), so it wasn't a surprise that a corner led to the opening goal. Normally, we have Sophie hit a driven cross into dangerous areas in front of our opponents goal; however, after jojo earned a corner in the 24th minute, she noticed that the Roosevelt defense wasn't set, or paying attention, so she took a short corner to Sophie who quickly found Kiley near the penalty spot. Kiley took the briefest of touches and fired a shot low past the diving keeper for a 1-0 Bellevue lead. It was a wonderful moment of improvisation from three very soccer-intelligent players. The halftime score of 1-0 flattered the Rough Riders as we had several chances to extend our lead, but didn't capitalize. The second half was similar to the first, as our girls dominated possession and continued to find space in the wide areas for Paige and Nikole to overlap. However, a 1-0 lead is fragile, and Roosevelt had several great chances of their own to steal an equalizer. Roosevelt hit the crossbar. Twice. And somehow shot a point-blank opportunity off our post. For a five minute spell in the 2nd half, our lead was feeling very very fragile.But after that short period of Roosevelt crossbars and posts, we settled down again and seemed likely to coast to victory. Until the very final moment, when three minutes after the full forty had been played (bizarre timekeeping from our somewhat inconsistent refereeing crew) Roosevelt had a final gilt-edged chance. But we have Madi George on our team, and they don't. Madi dove to her left to block a low hard shot, then bravely threw herself at the feet of the onrushing Roosevelt forward, smothering the shot and preserving the win in the most dramatic way possible. The referee blew the final whistle as Madi stood up with the ball and she was quickly mobbed by her teammates. And exhale. We are going to the final four. Highlights:Our team defense was tremendous. Madi. Nikole. Paige. Maud. Caylee. Catie. Ellie & Katie. Just wow. And the tracking back and tackling from Sophie, Jojo, Carly, Kiley, Grace & Joelle was superb. It takes 11 to play great D, and all 11 of the players on the field contributed to our blanking another opponent. That was our 6th shutout in a row, and we've allowed only 2 goals in our last 13 games. That is ridiculously good; Kiley "clutch" Suter. In big games, Kiley scores big goals. Mercer Island. LW. And now we add Roosevelt to the list. So good. So clutch. Our bus ride to Seattle and back...the dance party in the Memorial Stadium dressing room before the game...coach Kay's personalized gatorade chews pre-game...our bus driver taking us to Dick's for post-game hamburgers. Nothing better after a quarter-final victory than chocolate milk-shakes and fries....I hope these are the memories that survive the test of time as much as the final quarter-final result. Just pure fun. Player of the GameMadi George (2017)I've run out of superlatives to describe what Madi means to this team. Let's just leave it at this: without her contributions to our team over the course of the season, we wouldn't be headed to Sparks Stadium for the final four next weekend. And that was never more evident than on Saturday night when Madi made a series of 2nd half saves that sealed our win, none more important than the final whistle skirmish.