Jessie Stenberg, who was part of the Isalnders’ state-championship basketball team in March, scored a hat trick in the 4-1 win over the Tigers.
PUYALLUP — There might never again be a stretch of success like this for the Mercer Island girls soccer team, and especially for Islanders senior forward Jessie Stenberg.
Less than eight months after hoisting a state-title trophy for the first crown in girls basketball for the school, Stenberg helped bring home the first state championship in girls soccer.
Stenberg supplied a hat trick as Mercer Island dominated previously undefeated Stadium of Tacoma 4-1 to give the Islanders’ program a breakthrough moment in the Class 3A state-championship match on Saturday at Sparks Stadium.
For the Islanders (16-1-3), it was all about bringing effort from the start, allowing them to finish the season on top under first-year coach James Valles.
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“You have those leaders on your team, like Kendall Riley and Jessie, who were an example to the whole team,” Valles said. “When you get to this point, it’s all about them playing. All my work is done. It’s just heart, grit, soul and just leaving it out on the field.
“(The opponent) should be afraid of us, and that’s how we played. And that was the result.”
After three appearances in previous state-title matches, MI came through big time.
“This was just an amazing experience and a great way to end my soccer career,” Stenberg said. “(Winning two state titles in eight months) is just a surreal experience. I don’t know how to describe it. I’m so happy.
“I’m going to be happy for weeks and months and years to come.”
The Islanders went on top 1-0 in the 15th minute when Stenberg finished off a bouncing ball directly in front of the Stadium goal mouth. Stenberg tapped the ball in from inches away after the free kick from MI’s Kendall Riley glanced off teammate Jackie Gilroy and to the feet of Stenberg, who was in a crowd.
“The first goal was me and Lainie (teammate Elaina Martin), and we kind of put it away together,” said Stenberg, who was in the right spot at the right time on all three goals. “It was a partner goal.”
Stenberg made it 2-0 by converting a corner kick from Emily Arron in the 23rd minute, but Stadium (19-1) answered with an 18-yard strike by Ella Nadeau less than a minute later in the 24th minute.
The Islanders’ lead went to 3-1 when Emily Arron fired a 32-yard shot that skipped off the head of Stadium’s Kayla Fraser and into the left corner of the net in the 30th minute.
Stenberg made it 4-1 with a rebound shot at the right post in the 75th minute after Emily Arron’s shot bounced off Stadium goalkeeper Katherine Nelson.
• Junior forward Maddie Morgan tallied in the 17th minute on an assist from Aaliyah Vallardares as Kamiakin (20-1) claimed third place with a 1-0 win over Bellevue.
The Wolverines (14-7-1) settled for fourth after bringing home the school’s first state title in the sport in 2016. Bellevue couldn’t crack Kamiakin goalkeeper Grace Wilbur, who had nine saves.