Last spring, Snohomish was tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the Division II state title, then promptly fell victim to an upset in the first round of the playoffs.
This year, the expectations were not nearly so lofty. At the start of the season Snohomish wasn't ranked among the league's top 10 teams, coach Chris Cote said. Once again Snohomish left the experts shaking their heads. Snohomish posted an 18-0 record against Division II opponents and earned a spot in today's Division II state championship game.
Snohomish (18-1) plays Garfield (13-6) at 3 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Seattle. Garfield is the team that eliminated Snohomish last season.
Snohomish, whose only loss this season is to Division I Lake Washington, is not a team blessed with jaw-dropping skill. Instead, Snohomish uses its superior depth to wear out its opponents.
"We are well-balanced throughout," Cote said. "We don't have any superstars, per se, we just have a lot of good players at each position."
And they come at you in waves.
Cote said his team can field three full lines of capable players. Most of Snohomish's opponents have just two -- or less.
"If you look at our scores, we're usually evenly matched in the first half and then with our depth, we pull away," Cote said.
Snohomish comes into today's game riding a 15-game win streak. The team is led offensively by sophomore attackman Gabe Girgus and junior attackman Austin Tippett. Girgus ranked ninth in Division II in scoring during the regular season with 62 points (47 goals, 15 assists). Tippett, an All-Cascade Conference selection, collected four goals and three assists in Snohomish's 10-8 semifinal victory over Nathan Hale on Wednesday at Glacier Peak High School.
The anchors on the Snohomish defense are senior Jarred Booth, an all-conference defenseman, and senior goalkeeper Tucker Cooper.
The Snohomish boys are making their first appearance in the championship game. The Snohomish girls won Division II state titles in 2005 and 2008.
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