Sometimes fairytales have happy endings. Of course, our Wolverine fairytale wasn't stereotypical. Far from it. No simpering damsels in distress in our story, the heroines in our fairytale wore eye-black, made crunching tackles, and took control of their our destiny through hard work, talent and skill. Less than 24 hours after eliminating the defending state champions from Seattle Prep, our Bellevue girls took the field at Sparks Stadium and dominated a very worthy and strong Southridge opponent to win BHS's first state championship in girls soccer. Southridge had finished 2nd at the two previous final fours in 2015 and 2014. Every single one of their starters were seniors. They had a lot to play for, and are a very well-coached team. Athletic at every position and defensively organized. Our scouting video (thanks Brian White!) showed us that they are comfortable sitting back, playing good defense, and waiting for their opportunities on the counter-attacks. or from free kicks and corners. It's the type of team that wears opponents down with their physicality, and I knew that if the game stayed scoreless into the second half, it would become increasingly more difficult to break them down and the pressure would mount. However, if you score an early goal against a counter-attacking team, it completely changes the game. And we did just that. Jojo latched onto an Ellie pass at midfield, beat her defender and whipped a shot towards the Southridge goal and pass their goalkeeper. Unstoppable. And we were leading 1-0 after only 3 minutes. It was a goal of such beauty, ease and simplicity that you could almost see the thought-bubbles over the Southridge players heads as they walked back for the resulting kick-off,' "if Bellevue can score goals like that...we're in trouble." Very deep trouble. For the rest of the first half we turned on the class: dominating possession, winning tackles, and bossing the game. Not that Southridge ever gave up, their girls fought hard for the entire 80 minutes, but our team was in no mood to relinquish the momentum and continued to play strong and effective soccer. By the end of the game, we had maintained our 1-0 advantage (our sixth 1-0 victory in the last seven games). Final whistle. State champions. Our fairytale heroines made sure that our story ended happily. Big hugs. Proud smiles. And holding a big heavy trophy reserved for champions. HighlightsThere were weary legs everywhere after a hard-fought semi-finals, so our gameplan was to rotate players as much as we could in the first half so that we could finish strong in the 2nd. Joelle, Ana and Grace gave us great minutes when we needed it most; Madi, Madi, Madi. You just continue to surprise me every game. After taking a knee-brace to the face after making an amazingly brave save in the 32nd minute, your dedication and courage in returning to the game was inspirational...and the other side of the Madi collision story made me just as proud: Freshman goalie Kaatje entered the game when she was needed, and did her job well. What a moment for Kaatje, and although her time on the field was short, she had a positive impact. You never know when you'll be needed. Be ready; Sophie, Kiley, Carly and Jojo were so good. They rotated positions frequently to provide cover, and rest, for each other. They combined with creativity and positive movement. And when we were 6 minutes away from glory at the end of the game, they took the ball into the corner and effectively ended the game with tough and intelligent gamesmanship; And a final final final special shout-out to our collective defending on Saturday. Madi, Maud, Paige, Caylee, Nikole, Ellie & Katie were amazing. Defense wins championships. And we are champions largely because we are better than anybody else in the state at defending as a team. Player(s) of the Final Four Jojo Harber (2017) & Madi George (2017).Jojo not only scored all of our goals at the final four, but she contributed in so many other little ways: harrying defenders, delaying opponent FKs, covering for overlapping fullbacks, and setting a tone of extreme competitiveness that's infectious. As for Madi, even Hollywood screenwriters couldn't have written a more heart-warming narrative, with a more perfect ending, than Madi's season-long story. The final chapter included a PK-save against a national team player, a fierce collision to save a goal in the final, and our starting shortstop-goalkeeper getting her photo-taken with her teammates as a girls soccer state champion.