PUYALLUP — Jen Estes and the Lake Washington girls soccer team weren’t going to let an opportunity slip away with history at stake.
Estes turned in a one-goal, one-assist effort as Lake Washington captured the school’s first state title in girls soccer with a 3-1 decision over KingCo 3A/2A rival Bellevue on Saturday afternoon in the Class 3A state championship match at Sparks Stadium.
The Kangaroos (18-1-1) exacted the ultimate measure of revenge against the only team to hand them a defeat this season and completed the season with a 16-match unbeaten run.
“Our coach (Ashton Staudacher) was telling us before the match that we had a chance to make history today, so we were pretty excited,” said Estes, the team’s senior playmaker at forward. “We really came together as a team. Everyone worked together, and we truly bonded and grew together as the season went on.”
The Wolverines (13-6-3) were missing three starters who were injured in Friday’s semifinal shootout win over Lakeside. That meant Bellevue would drop back and defend to stay in the match.
“It was definitely different knowing that we had already played them three times and know stuff about them,” Estes said. “We just had to play our best game, and we were able to do that. The pressure was a lot more intense than our normal KingCo games, but other than that, it was pretty similar.
“We just knew we had to battle and give everything today and everyone on the team did.”
Abby Nikfard, a sophomore forward, perfectly placed a 24-yard shot into the far upper-left corner of the net to give the Kangaroos a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute. Nikfard’s shot lofted just above the reach of Bellevue goalkeeper Ashley Heinz after teammate Estes’ nice leave to the open Nikfard on the right side of the field.
Estes, a Princeton commit, fired off a 33-yard shot from the middle of the field, and it found the upper left corner of the net to give Lake Washington a 2-0 lead in the 36th minute. It was Estes’ 20th goal of the season to go with 18 assists.
“We knew we had to put on the gas even when we were up 2-0,” Estes said. “That’s a dangerous lead to have in a game. We knew we had to never stop and keep going.”
Junior Ari Issa finished a 16-yard shot, slotting it into the far right corner to hike the Kangs’ lead to 3-0 in the 63rd minute.
No Lake Washington team had gone past the state quarterfinals until this season, but Staudacher knew she had the right pieces in place for a big state run.
“You can’t say enough good things about this group and the coolest part is every single kid in this program, they deserve this and they’ve earned it,” said Staudacher, the Kangs’ sixth-year coach, watching her team celebrate with their classmates. “They have clearly created an atmosphere and community that people want to be around. It’s been infectious.”
Bellevue’s Audrey Miller scored from right in front of the goal in the 66th minute as the Wolverines cut the LW lead to 3-1.
Senior Marielle Arnold found the net in the 23rd minute as Central Kitsap (14-6-3) of Silverdale nabbed third place for the first trophy finish in school history with a 1-0 win over Lakeside. The Lions (18-2-3), who only gave up six goals all season, suffered their only two losses in their final two matches.