SHORELINE — It’s been quite a year for Shoreline’s two high school girls soccer teams.
Shorecrest captured the Wesco 3A/2A title. Shorewood finished close behind, taking third place in the 16-team league. Between them, they’ve lost just two matches combined.
And fittingly, they’ll square off for the district crown.
Top-seeded Shorecrest beat fourth-seeded Oak Harbor 2-0 and second-seeded Shorewood defeated sixth-seeded Monroe 3-0 in the Class 3A District 1 Tournament semifinals Tuesday night at Shoreline Stadium.
With their victories, the Shoreline rivals clinched state berths and advanced to face each other in Saturday’s district championship match.
“It’s kind of cool,” Shorecrest coach Mindy Dalziel said. “The two schools that have been battling up the top of the (standings) get to play each other for district finals. It’s gonna be fun to take them on again.”
The district championship will be a rematch of last Monday’s regular-season finale, which saw the Scots earn a hard-fought 1-1 draw to clinch the Wesco 3A/2A title.
Shorecrest (15-1-1) finished atop the conference standings with 37 points and claimed the league crown by virtue of its head-to-head tiebreaker over Archbishop Murphy. Shorewood (13-1-2) finished just two points behind the Scots and Wildcats at 35 points.
“They’re gonna be out for revenge, and we’re gonna have to try to own it and go with it,” Dalziel said.
Shorecrest, which made an underdog run to the 3A state tournament last year, secured its 10th state trip in the past 11 full-length seasons. However, this will be the Scots’ first appearance in a district championship match since reaching the 2A District 1 final in 2015.
Shorewood earned both its third state berth and third district championship match appearance in the past four full-length seasons. The Stormrays won last year’s 3A District 1 title and went on to reach the 3A state quarterfinals.
Both programs graduated at least half of their starting lineup from last year’s state tournament squads. But with talented young players stepping up to fill the voids, both teams are headed back to state in the midst of success-filled seasons.
“We had a lot of big shoes to fill,” first-year Shorewood coach Brooke Pingrey said. “Luckily, we got three freshman who have been fantastic. They’ve been amazing, playing most of every game for us. And just in general, it’s really, really fantastic for (our team) to be playing the way they are and playing so well together.”
In the first semifinal, the Stormrays got on the board in the 18th minute. Junior midfielder Amelia Severn sent a perfectly placed corner kick to the far-left post, where senior Molly McGeoy leaped up and headed it into the upper-left corner of the net for a 1-0 Stormrays lead.
Early in the second half, talented freshman forward and leading scorer Diana Tuilevuka added a 46th-minute goal with a great individual effort. Tuilevuka received a throw-in on the right side, took one dribble left and then cut back to the right. That created a sliver of space, which was all she needed to fire a low shot past Monroe’s diving goalkeeper and into the left corner of the net for a 2-0 margin.
The Stormrays tacked on another goal in the 55th minute. Severn sent a long through ball upfield and senior Cary Tanaka reached it just in time to send a sliding kick past Monroe’s goalkeeper for a 3-0 cushion.
“We have a lot of speed,” Pingrey said. “We definitely have a few track runners. But I would say (our biggest strength is) our combination play. … They always seem to know exactly what the other players are gonna do, without really talking. They just work really well off of each other.”
On the back end, Shorewood’s defense stymied the Bearcats (10-7) while sophomore Sophie Schindler and junior Paige Petschl combined for the shutout in the net.
“Our defense did a great job,” Pingrey said. “And we’re very, very lucky to have two really good goalkeepers.”
In the second semifinal, Shorecrest raced to an early 2-0 lead behind a goal and an assist from junior forward Emma Orthel.
Orthel got things started in the 11th minute, when she dribbled past her defender to the right corner of the pitch and sent a pass into the middle of the box. The ball found junior forward Taylor Christensen, who one-timed it into the upper-right corner of the net for a 1-0 Scots lead.
Soon after in the 19th minute, Shorecrest junior midfielder Tayvi Khan chipped an exquisite 40-yard through ball that drew Oak Harbor’s goalkeeper out of the box. Orthel raced downfield, caught up to the pass, took one dribble past the sliding goalkeeper and slotted the ball into the empty net to make it 2-0.
“Emma earned herself a starting spot (recently) based off her work rate that we’ve seen in the last couple weeks,” Dalziel said. “And she created that offense (with) that cross and her goal. … We challenge each other and they accept the roles and they continue to push each other as a team.”
Shorecrest junior goalkeeper Tatiana Zahajko earned the shutout, highlighted by a pair of key saves. In the 18th minute, she raced out to make a sliding save on a close-range shot in front of the net. And in the 55th minute, she deflected a close-range header to keep the Northwest Conference 3A/2A runner-up Wildcats (11-5-1) off the board.
With a strong defense and Zahajko protecting the net, the Scots have allowed just five goals in 17 matches this season.
“She had some big, clutch saves tonight,” Dalziel said. “But she’s calm under pressure. She thrives for that. … I’m super proud of her.”
Despite their semifinal losses, Oak Harbor and Monroe each have two more chances to advance to state.
On Thursday, Oak Harbor faces third-seeded Mountlake Terrace and Monroe plays fifth-seeded Snohomish in a pair of winner-to-state district consolation matches. The losers of those matches will square off Saturday in a winner-to-state, loser-out clash.
The Shoreline schools, meanwhile, have already secured state berths. But there will certainly still be plenty at stake in Saturday’s district final.
“They’re our rival,” McGeoy said of the Scots. “So we want to get the victory.”
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