Sophomore Sophie Hirst supplied a 52nd minute goal and the Panthers were relentless all match in securing a 1-0 win over Southridge of Kennewick on Saturday in the Class 3A state championship at Sparks Stadium.
PUYALLUP – The expectation was there all season for the Seattle Prep girls soccer team.
It pushed the Panthers at times. It dogged them at times. Ultimately, it got them over the top.
Sophomore Sophie Hirst supplied a 52nd-minute goal and the Panthers were relentless all match in securing a 1-0 win over Southridge of Kennewick on Saturday in the Class 3A state-championship at Sparks Stadium.
The Suns (18-3) fell for the second season in a row in the 3A final. The Panthers came through with what a lot of people were banking on before the season started.
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Seattle Prep (22-0-1) won the classic offense-vs.-defense title match by constantly pushing forward, and that mentality won out. The Panthers, who now own three state crowns, posted the school’s best record, beating the mark of 20-0-2 of the 2011 squad that won a 3A championship.
“It’s really great because we’ve been working all season for it, so it feels good that we got it finally,” Hirst said. “It was a lot of pressure, because a lot of people were expecting us to go all the way. It’s like what Mr. Hendricks was saying before, ‘It’s one thing to have the expectations, but it’s another to execute and get them.’
“It’s pretty exciting.”
Southridge fell in last season’s 3A final to Edmonds Woodway, 2-1. The Panthers won their only state titles in 2010 and 2011 in 3A and got their third with their seventh championship appearance in school history. It was their sixth time reaching the title match in the last nine years.
The Panthers went ahead 1-0 on a 13-yard blast from Hirst, angling in a shot from the right side into the far left side of the net. It was the break Prep needed after fruitless attack after attack.
“We’re a hard team to keep from scoring, and one goal usually doesn’t satisfy us,” said Seattle Prep coach Andy Hendricks, who is in his 26th season as the Panthers’ coach.
Hirst scored by weaving through the Suns’ tough defense.
“That’s classic Sophie,” said Hendricks, who lost three starters to injury in the last two weeks. “She will pick up a ball 30 yards out, and just kind of go through. She just kind of weaves and snakes through.”
Hirst was part of all three goals the Panthers scored in the Final Four matches on Friday and Saturday. Sophomore goalkeeper Audrey Aggen registered the shutout.
The Panthers, who owned an 8-0 shots advantage before intermission, had two dangerous chances within a six-minute span in the first half. Hirst had a dangerous cross in front of the Southridge goal in the 25th minute. Then, in the 31st minute, Prep’s Nicole Rasmussen missed wide right on a close-range opportunity after nice cross to her feet.
Edmonds-Woodway 2, Arlington 0
Junior Emily Syberg and sophomore Molly Carden scored goals in the first 36 minutes and sophomore goalkeeper Hannah Hicks finished with 11 saves as the Warriors (19-2-2) followed up last season’s Class 3A state championship season with a third-place trophy.
E-W suffered a tough 2-1 loss in Friday’s state semifinals to unbeaten Seattle Prep.
“I’m proud of my team,” E-W coach Bill Lecompte said. “We’ve had a heckuva ride, and last night was an extremely tough match. Sometimes it goes in your favor and sometimes it doesn’t.
“We came back out and took a light-hearted approach to the game. It was good how they built together this season.”
Hicks made seven of her 11 saves in the second half to record the school’s 16th shutout this season. It was Edmonds Woodway’s third win of the season over the Eagles (17-6).