By Matt Massey
Special to The Seattle Times
PUYALLUP — The Bellevue High School girls soccer team was determined to finish the job and earn the rare distinction of unbeaten, untied champion.
The margin was razor-thin for the Wolverines, who survived a pair of overtime shootouts in the first two rounds of the state playoffs.
An own goal off a corner kick from junior Lily Colby was enough as Bellevue downed Roosevelt 1-0 and thwarted the Roughriders’ bid to become the first Seattle Public Schools program to bring home a state girls title in the sport on Saturday afternoon in the Class 3A state championship match at Sparks Stadium.
The Wolverines (20-0-0) became the first unbeaten and untied state champion in Class 3A since Gig Harbor (23-0-0) did it in 2018.
“When I took the kick, it was curling in and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh that has to be in,’” said Colby, a defender. “And then it bounces off the [far right post] somewhere and I just see it in the back of the goal. I think it went off someone else.”
Bellevue’s first state title came in 2016 when it topped Southridge of Kennewick 1-0 in the championship match. En route to the school’s first state crown in the sport six years ago, the Wolverines beat Roosevelt 1-0 in the state quarterfinals.
“This group was a very young group, and we only returned four starters from the year before,” said Bellevue coach Peter Cochran, who has two titles in his seven years leading the program. “One of our college commits [Alex Buck] had a stress fracture in her back and couldn’t play a single minute this season. The girls just rose to the occasion. We have a lot of young players.
“The combination of a really strong senior class and some young players, who kept us loose, was a really good combination.”
Colby sent in the key corner kick of the match and it caromed off a crowd of players and into the net in the 27th minute to give Bellevue a 1-0 lead that stood up. The corner kick was set up after Wolverine sophomore Leah Uezato hammered a strong left-footed shot to the middle of the goal and high, forcing Roosevelt goalkeeper Abigail Williams to tip the attempt over the cross bar.
Bellevue withstood a heavy push of offense from Roosevelt (16-5-2), which outshot the Wolverines 8-2 in the second half.
“I think our team just wanted it so badly,” Colby said. “We just won this together. We all just want to play for each other.”
Roosevelt was bidding to become the first Seattle Public Schools program from the Metro League to win a state title in girls soccer and is the only public school to reach the title match, doing so back in 2000 as well. However, 10 Metro League teams have captured state crowns in the 38-year history of Class 3A championships.
“I’m extremely proud of this group, because they are real warriors and they worked really, really hard,” Roosevelt coach Stanley Holmes said. “We played at a really high level and we were in position to win this game. But we came into this game a little hobbled.
“We were without a starting center back and one of our starting forwards hardly played because of an injury last week.”
The Roughriders played much of their 2-0 semifinal win over Seattle Prep and the entire final without center back Audrey Bennett, who suffered a knee injury early in Friday’ semifinal.
“I thought we still played really, really well despite the injuries,” Holmes said. “We were just off a little bit at key moments. I felt the first 20 minutes we had the momentum and we were playing the better soccer and were in the driver’s seat. But you know how soccer goes. We kept pushing and all we needed was one.”