SHORELINE — On Saturday night the Archbishop Murphy girls soccer team achieved something all teams strive for, but few are able to accomplish:
The Wildcats capped off a perfect season by beating the Hockinson Hawks 2-0 to claim the Class 2A state championship at Shoreline Stadium.
Seniors Reeve Borseth and Jordyn Latta scored the goals on either side of halftime, both off corner kicks, as Archbishop Murphy completed an unbelievable season in which the Wildcats went 23-0 and outscored their opponents 119-8.
“It’s just great that it’s finally come,” said Borseth, a senior co-captain who constantly disrupted Hockinson attacks in her holding midfield role. “This is what we’ve literally been striving for this whole senior year, all four years since freshman year. This senior class, this is what we needed and what we wanted.”
The top-seeded Wildcats underscored their accomplishments by defeating defending state champion Columbia River and defending state runner-up Hockinson on back-to-back nights. The state title was the third in school history and first since 2009.
“It means everything,” senior forward and co-captain Taylor Campbell, who terrorized the Hockinson defense with her speed down the left flank, said about finishing with a perfect record. “We always say, ‘Finish strong.’ We started at Game 7 when we started our first district game and we made it to Game 1 (Archbishop Murphy ticked off each of its seven postseason contests). This was our goal and we completed it. It feels really great to be 23-0, especially for our senior year.”
Hockinson, seeded No. 7, finished its season 16-7.
For much of the first half Archbishop Murphy had more of the ball, but Hockinson had the better scoring chances. A Hawks’ shot from 45 yards out forced Wildcats goalkeeper Allie Williams to scramble back to her line and palm the ball away at the post, and a long throw-in bounced all the way to Grace Abbott in close, only for Williams to smother the point-blank shot.
But Archbishop Murphy’s pressure continued to mount, as the Wildcats forced a series of corner kicks late in the half, and eventually Archbishop Murphy converted. After Latta’s corner was cleared, the ball came back out to her and she crossed it back in. Hockinson goalkeeper Amanda Jeschke tried to punch the ball away, but Borseth got in the way to keep the ball in the box. Then Borseth, facing away from goal, popped the ball over her head and it lofted into the goal, giving the Wildcats a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute.
“I was like, ‘We’d had so many corners we need to get this one in,’” Borseth said. “I’m going in, I’m just going to try and strive for all I’ve got. Jordyn made a beautiful assist out wide and it just came in and happened. It’s going to happen, we’re going to fight for it.”
It was more of the same early in the second half as again Archbishop Murphy forced a string of corners, and again the Wildcats eventually took advantage. Cameron Bourne nearly scored when her header from a corner forced Jeschke into a diving save. On the ensuing corner Archbishop Murphy played it short in order to give Brie Cote a different angle for the cross. Her cross into a dangerous area pinballed around the box until Latta was able to punch it home to make it 2-0 in the 46th minute.
“We do (take pride in our set pieces),” Campbell said. “We go to the corners, we try to get corner kicks, we try to get fouled, we do whatever we can. We want to make the game more simple for ourselves, so me and Jojo (Chiangpradit) on the right wing, we try to get those corners to help our team out. That gives us momentum.”
Hockinson responded with a brief spell of urgency as the Hawks put some pressure on Archbishop Murphy’s goal. But central defenders Claire Esping and Ava Marr held strong, and it was the Wildcats who produced the more dangerous moments as Campbell rolled a shot just wide after dribbling through the defense and Latta put a shot just over after a rebound from yet another corner.
When the final whistle blew it was a Wildcat mob scene at midfield as the players all jumped into one big pile.
“I am ecstatic,” Chiangpradit, also a senior co-captain, said. “I’m through the roof. Every single girl on this field came to practice on time, they put their all into every single day at practice and in games, and I could not be more grateful for this experience. These past four years have been absolutely amazing, my coaching staff is awesome, they make me really want to show up for my team and them, and I am so exited that we pulled this off. It has been such a work in progress, and to finally put all the puzzle pieces together and really capitalize in front of all these people, it’s the best feeling in the entire world.”