SHORELINE — Too often the King’s High School girls soccer team has had to settle for being the bridesmaid. But now the Knights have their chance to be the bride.
Katie Stella and Callie Wright scored goals to fire King’s into the 1A state championship game as the Knights defeated the Seattle Academy Cardinals 2-0 Friday at Shoreline Stadium.
This is the ninth time King’s has been to the state semifinals since 2006, yet the Knights have yet to claim a title. King’s can end that drought with a victory over Cascade of Leavenworth, which beat La Salle 2-0 in Friday’s other semifinal. Saturday’s championship game is at 2 p.m. at Shoreline Stadium.
King’s (14-8) got to the title game by beating a team that’s been the bride many times over. Seattle Academy has reached the final four six times since 2005, winning the championship four times. The Cardinals also defeated the Knights 4-1 in a bi-district contest two weeks ago, King’s only loss to a 1A school this year.
”I say we won on effort points,” King’s coach Nicole Gabelein said. “That’s how we try to get out there. When we start the game I want them to win on effort in the first part of the game, then settle into the game. They did that.
“This squad plays hard because they love each other and they love the game — and they like to win,” Gabelein added when asked whether the search for that elusive first state title was a motivating factor. “Those are the things that matter. It’s a little bit different, this team has felt different from the beginning. I think part of that is carrying 10 freshmen on varsity, so it’s a different feel with the energy they bring. And the upperclassmen and how they’ve decided to lead this team has been fantastic.”
Seattle Academy (15-3-3) faces La Salle in the third-place game at 10 a.m. Saturday at Shoreline Stadium.
The Knights lost convincingly to the Cardinals in their previous meeting, but King’s was missing key players because of injuries in that game. The Knights were back to full strength Friday and it showed as they dominated possession early, keeping the ball almost exclusively in the Seattle Academy half.
It all paid off for the Knights just seven minutes into the contest. Emma Fleming sent a free kick from 35 yards out into the penalty box, where Stella rose for a free header and placed the ball into the corner to stake the Knights to a 1-0 lead.
The story remained largely the same into the second half, and King’s got the all-important second goal in the 54th minute. Daylee Peterson sent a ball forward from midfield, releasing Wright on a breakaway. Wright maneuvered herself around Seattle Academy goalkeeper Emerson Richmond-Burke and rolled the ball into a gaping net to make it 2-0.
That was more than enough for a stingy King’s defense that didn’t allow Seattle Academy a quality scoring chance until second-half extra time, by which time the game was all but over.