EVERETT — To reach the obvious goal of winning the game and advancing to the semifinals of the Class 2A girls state soccer tournament, Archbishop Murphy head coach Dick Henderson had a plan for his team to share the ball and trust in each other in order to create the most offensive chances.
The Wildcats used that advice to take control of the game on Saturday afternoon and earn a 3-0 victory over Sehome (14-3 overall) at Goddard Stadium.
Archbishop Murphy (14-2-1) will play Fife on Friday at 10 a.m. in the state semifinals at Harry Lang Stadium in Lakewood. With the loss, Sehome is out of the state playoffs.
“We were just trying to come in and play our game,” said Sehome head coach Andria Fountain. “I think we played well. They’re a good team and I think we did what we could.”
Neither team knew exactly what to expect coming into the game since they compete in different conferences, but Archbishop Murphy had played Sehome’s Northwest Conference rivals Burlington-Edison and Squalicum earlier in the season and won both games.
“(Sehome) was more physical than we though they would be so we just had to try to hold our ground and fight back, but they battled hard,” said Henderson.
Coming into the game, Henderson hoped to limit the number of times Sehome controlled the ball and the Wildcats succeeded in carrying that plan out.
“I don’t feel like (Sehome) really had a lot of great scoring chances. They had one where our keeper had to come out and punch the ball away but that was pretty much it,” said Henderson.
Archbishop Murphy controlled the ball for most of the first half but couldn’t get the ball past Sehome goalkeeper Brittany Osborn until midfielder Sam Pettinger finally gave the Wildcats the first goal of the game off an assist by Erin Ryan in the 32nd minute.
Assisted by Lindsey Bos, midfielder Caroline Brawner increased Archbishop Murphy’s lead to 2-0 with less than a minute remaining in the first half.
“We have a saying: ‘Just one more,’” said Henderson. “Meaning not just one more game, but just one more goal than the other team is all you need. We win games 1-0. Once we had two goals at halftime, our strategy was to add on.”
Senior Sarah Schireman added that extra security goal for the Wildcats in the 50th minute when she kicked the ball in from the 15-yard line off an assist by Brittany Allen.
“It’s nice to get here and it’s hard to get to this point but this is where we expected to be,” said Henderson. “Now it’s a new game for the final four teams and everyone in the final four is good enough. No one sneaks through to the final four so we’re going to give it our best shot.”
Cedarcrest 1, Cheney 0: At Spokane, in the 58th minute Brooke Chapman of Cedarcrest beat her defender off the dribble and shot the ball from 20 yards out on the left side of the penalty box past Cheney goalkeeper Nora Ifft for the game’s only goal. Cheney’s leading scorer, Kelly Zakrzewski, who has 33 goals this season, was held to only one shot. Kori Butterfield had an easy day in goal against a Cheney team which got off just four shots in the game — Cedarcrest had 15. Cedarcrest advances to face East Valley in the semifinals next Saturday.