Bellevue 1-0 PrepState Semi-final "I don't believe much in luck. I believe more in work, in convincing, in stubbornness and in capacity." -- Diego Simeone, Athletico Madrid manager and former Argentina international famous for his tenacious spirit as a player and coach. Despite the what the head coach of BHS said to the Seattle Times (who is that guy? he clearly needs a PR team...), after our semi-final victory over Seattle Prep, I believe in luck much like Diego Simeone believes in luck in the quote above: it is earned. You make your own luck. Luck is what happens when you fight for every 50-50 challenge, when you sprint back to cover your teammates even if the ball is on the other side of the field..or when you crash the box after a shot and are in the right place, at the right time, to score the winning goal against a team that hadn't lost in 44 games. Yes, every potential championship team needs a bit of "luck" to win, but that luck is earned. And over 80 minutes in our tight and well-matched battle with no1 Seattle Prep, we earned the victory.The game began with drama as Prep was awarded a PK after only 2 minutes. We have been practicing PKs at the end of every training session for the last two weeks. It's a frustrating process for a goalkeeper as PKs are typically a 90% in favor of the shooter, especially at training. But in repetition and practice, comes experience and a sense of calm. Besides, "never tell me the odds." Calm and experienced is how our newbie goalkeeper looked as she dove to her right and easily saved the PK to change the entire course of the game. Yes, we had to survive another 10-15 minutes of steady Prep pressure and good chances, but by saving that PK, Madi George made an indelible mark on our the semi-final victory. After weathering the early storm, we settled down and got back into the game and began creating our own chances. Kiley, Sophie, Jojo, Joelle, Carly and Ana, supported by better distribution and opportunistic forward runs by Katie and Ellie, were beginning to trouble the organized Prep defense. We finished the first half with the momentum as the spaces in Prep's midfield began to grow. Our 2nd half was magnificent. We announced our intentions directly from our kick-off, rotating the ball in an 8-9 pass sequence from one side of the field to the other, and finally up our left wing, working the ball in and around the Prep defense with simplicity and poise. At that moment, I knew we were in the ascendancy. That the rest of the game would be in our control. And so it goes. Prep remained dangerous, but we were in control. Finally we got the goal we had been building to for the previous 20-30 minutes. After Maud scored on a free kick that was strangely called back by the referee, we made the follow-up opportunity count. It was a goal of work. Of effort. Of Simeone stubbornness. It was not lucky. We earned it. By doing the little things right (crashing the box), jojo earned the winning goal in the state semi-final. It was an awesome win. Against a very good opponent. But we're not done yet. FTJ. HighlightsAs much as I love beautiful joyful soccer, and will continue to encourage our girls to play with creativity, defense wins championships. And although our job isn't done yet, if it wasn't for the collective hard work and grit by our entire team, we wouldn't be in the state final this afternoon. Prep hadn't been shut out in over two years. Prep had three 20+ goalscorers. They were the defending champions. Undefeated and untied. They had averaged over 4 goals a game this entire season. 86 goals scored. Until they faced our girls.Shutout. Yes, they had chances early. But once we overcame some jitters, Prep's chances dried up and were limited for the entire back-half of the game. Madi, Maud, Caylee, Paige, Nikole, Ellie & Kaite were disciplined, strong and uncompromising. Sophie, Kiley, Jojo, Joelle, Carly and Ana tracked back. Every time. I couldn't be more proud of the mental toughness and dedication it took to finish off that game. Other highlights: the band. the student send-off. the bus. jimmy johns. gatorade chews. @!#$##% spalding. Kay's pre-game memento. Booster support. our student section out-cheering their larger Prep counterparts. My son offering congratulations in his Prep t-shirt after the game. Moldy uniforms, and the generosity and grace shown by a senior who offered her own jersey as a replacement.We're not done yet. But it was a very good start to our final four weekend.