The Archbishop Murphy High School girls soccer team’s perfect season was in serious jeopardy.
After spending nearly the entire fall cruising past opponents in utterly dominant fashion, the Wildcats were trailing 1-0 to defending state champion Columbia River in the second half of last month’s Class 2A state semifinal.
It was the first deficit of the season for Archbishop Murphy. And as the minutes ticked off the clock, the Wildcats’ hopes of a state title and an undefeated campaign were slipping away.
Jordyn Latta came to the rescue.
With a pair of goals in the final 12 minutes of regulation, the senior striker saved Archbishop Murphy’s dream season and lifted her team to a 2-1 comeback victory.
And in the following night’s state championship match, Latta added another goal to help the Wildcats claim the state crown and complete a perfect season with a 2-0 win over Hockinson.
“She’s a clutch performer,” Archbishop Murphy coach Mike Bartley said. “She absolutely comes through when you need her. And she came up big for us in the semifinals and finals of state.”
Latta’s semifinal and championship heroics capped a spectacular senior campaign.
She totaled a whopping 26 goals and 26 assists — both of which were team highs for the talent-laden Wildcats.
As one of four Archbishop Murphy players with at least 15 goals, she helped lead her team to an unblemished 23-0 record and a staggering 125-7 goal differential.
And between both her goals and assists, she contributed to 41.6% of the Wildcats’ scoring.
For her extraordinary season and the major role she played in Archbishop Murphy’s undefeated run to the title, Latta is The Herald’s 2021 All-Area Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
“This team did things that no other (Archbishop Murphy) team has done,” Bartley said. “… It’s just amazing. This whole season was.
“And Jordyn was a big part of that.”
Latta, however, deflected credit to her all-star crew of teammates.
She was complemented by a trio of other big-time scorers in senior forward Jojo Chiangpradit (24 goals and 21 assists), senior forward Taylor Campbell (15 goals and 17 assists) and junior midfielder Cameron Bourne (20 goals and 16 assists).
University of Montana-bound senior holding midfielder Reeve Borseth, the state coaches association’s 2A player of the year, added five goals and 13 assists.
Borseth also teamed with senior defender Jessie Killian, junior defender Claire Esping and senior goalkeeper Allie Williams to anchor a stingy defense that allowed just seven goals all season.
“I definitely don’t think one player carried our team the whole way through this,” Latta said. “I think it was a combination of everyone. … Everyone got involved. Everyone helped everyone else achieve.
“So I don’t take any credit, nor (do) I think anyone else does for our success. I think as a collective whole we all do together.”
Bartley praised Latta for helping foster the Wildcats’ team-first mentality, which was evidenced by her high assist total.
“I don’t think you’ll see too many strikers that have just as many assists as they do goals,” Bartley said. “And I think that says a lot about her. I mean, there were some easy opportunities that she could’ve converted another goal or two, but she decided to just lay it off and give it to (a teammate).
“So that says a lot about her priorities and (doing) what was important for the team, rather than herself.”
Latta, who is left-footed, has typically played left wing throughout her club soccer career. But for her junior and senior seasons of high school ball, she moved to striker.
Bartley said Latta’s greatest strengths are her finishing ability, competitive drive, speed and smarts.
“She’s a clinical finisher,” Bartley said. “She’s good with both feet, shooting, volleys, finishing in the air with her head. And then she’s an ultimate competitor. She’s fearless. She goes into the box attacking a ball and she’s super brave, which I think paid dividends for the season. She’s athletic and fast, which most people don’t realize until she’s by them.
“But I think the thing that’s the most important is she’s very smart. … She just looks at a situation and can read it really well and then take advantage of it.”
As part of an ultra-talented senior class, Latta and the Wildcats likely would’ve contended for the 2A state title in 2020. However, the 2020 fall season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there were no state tournaments during this past spring’s abbreviated season.
“Last year was kind of taken away from us,” Latta said. “I think we really could’ve maybe possibly won the state title. But I think going into this (season), we were really eager. And once we started going the first couple games, we got more and more excited, because we realized how good our team really was.”
Latta and the Wildcats stormed through Wesco 3A/2A, finishing with a 15-0 mark and an 84-6 goal differential in league play.
They were similarly dominant in the postseason, outscoring opponents 33-1 in their seven district and state tournament matches. Latta was a big part of their playoff success, totaling nine goals and five assists over that span.
And when adversity struck in the state semifinal, she persevered and rose to the occasion.
Latta received a yellow card in that match, which prompted Bartley to sub her out for a bit. While she was on the sideline, Columbia River scored the go-ahead goal to take a 1-0 lead.
“Once I got that yellow, obviously I was very upset,” Latta said. “I was very devastated. … And then we got scored on when I was off on the sideline. And I was like, ‘I need to get back out there. I need to do something. I need to help my team.’
“I was feeling a lot of pressure on myself, because I hurt my team in that moment when I got my yellow.”
After reentering the match, Latta more than made up for the yellow card.
In the 69th minute, Latta received a ball from Borseth down the left side and fired an equalizing goal into the far corner of the net.
And with less than five minutes to play, Chiangpradit lofted a pass over the top of the defense and into the path of Latta streaking down the middle. Latta then flicked the ball over the goalkeeper, sending it bouncing across the goal line for the game-winner.
“At that moment, we were all ecstatic,” Latta said. “We knew we won at that point. We were all freaking out. … Our team just really showed up at the end of that second half and we really showed what we were made of.”
Latta came through again the following night, punching home a 46th-minute goal that gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead and helped seal the state title.
“Once the ref blew that whistle and we had won that game, it was just such a relief that we finally did it,” Latta said. “We all ran toward each other and we all hugged. … It was just like the perfect moment.”
Latta isn’t sure what her soccer future holds. She said she’s considering playing in college, but is weighing her options.
One thing, however, is certain: In achieving a perfect season, Latta and her teammates leave behind a lasting legacy at Archbishop Murphy.
“It was all kind of just one big journey (that) I think every step of the way, every game, we truly enjoyed and we truly took in,” she said.
“Every step of the way was super special.”