The accomplished player scored the only goal as the Wolverines sent Southridge home without a state title for the third straight season.
PUYALLUP — When Jojo Harber sized up her chances, she saw a gap in the upper shelf of the net.
It gave her a shooter’s chance.
Harber struck with solid-gold perfection and laser-precision to nail a longshot goal into the upper shelf just three minutes into the match as third-ranked Bellevue beat fourth-ranked Southridge of Kennewick 1-0 on Saturday in the Class 3A state championship match at Sparks Stadium.
Bellevue (19-0-2) secured the school’s first state crown in girls soccer, just three seasons removed from the school’s first state berth (and a third-place finish).
Most Read Sports Stories
- The top 5 things we learned from Seahawks coach Pete Carroll's Monday news conference
- Seahawks mailbag: Is there a deadline for a Jadeveon Clowney decision?
- Pac-12 football player group including UW Huskies Joe Tryon and Ty Jones presents list of demands, threatens to opt out of 2020 season
- Analysis: Five things to know about the Pac-12 unity movement and player demands
- Just over a week after releasing him, the Seahawks re-sign defensive end Branden Jackson
“I beat a girl, there was one more girl to go, I looked up and saw the goalie and she was a little short and I decided to chip her a little driven ball over her head and it worked,” said Harber, the Wolverines’ senior forward who plays with the U-18 U.S. women’s national team. “And, it was really exciting. I just think (the shot) was unexpected. I feel like the goalie didn’t think it was coming. I saw an opportunity so I took it.”
“I think you saw why Jojo’s a difference maker,” Bellevue first-year coach Peter Cochran said. “It’s because special players in a fraction of a second can change a game. She impacts the game in so many other ways, but today you saw what she can do with that finish.”
Cochran was glad to have Harber even for half of the season. Harber, who missed time with national-team duty, finished with 12 goals and six assists.
“If your country calls, you go,” he said of the U.S. national team call-up. “When she came back to high school, it just benefitted us.”
Bellevue suffered a big blow in the 30th minute when Southridge forward Mckaley Goffard appeared to collide with Wolverines’ goalkeeper Madi George. Freshman Kaatje Justus came in for George in the 33rd minute, leaving Bellevue with little experience in goal.
George, who hadn’t played organized soccer since her youth, sat out the last seven minutes and added time of the first half, but returned to start the second half.
“She’s amazing and talked to her on the bench (at halftime),” Harber said. “She was like, ‘I’m going back in. I just needed five minutes.’ That’s exactly who she is. She’s so tough and knew she was going to back out there to save us.”
Southridge (20-3-0) was making its third consecutive appearance in the Class 3A title match and for the third time it has left with disappointment. The Suns were outshot 11-7 and never got off a dangerous shot.
Camas takes 4A state title
Sophomore Maddie Kemp tallied her 31st goal of the season in the seventh minute and Sabine Postma added another as Camas (21-0-1) beat West Valley of Yakima (18-3-0) for the Class 4A state championship, 3-0.
West Valley lost for the second consecutive season in the final, falling 2-1 to Issaquah in 2015.
• Senior Cameron Tingey scored a goal and provided an assist as Skyline (15-1-4) bounced back from a tough 1-0 semifinal loss to Camas to nab third place in the Class 4A state tournament with a 2-0 win over Hanford (18-5-0).
• Sophomore midfielder Helena Reischling converted a 15-yard shot off a pass from Bea Franklin in the 82nd minute as Seattle Prep (22-1-0) beat Blanchet (12-8-3) for the fourth time this season to claim third place in the Class 3A state tourney.