The Shorecrest girls soccer team has managed to carve a path into the Class 3A state semifinals for the second consecutive year.
The Scots took down eighth-seeded Peninsula 3-0 before knocking off the No. 1 seed and defending state champion Bellevue 2-1 in the quarterfinals last week, a team that Shorecrest had fallen 1-0 to in the state semis last fall.
“We went into that game with the underdog story,” Shorecrest head coach Mindy Dalziel said. “Nobody was giving us a chance, everybody had written us off. Yes, we got to the postseason and state, but we had to take down No. 1. … I looked at the girls and said that they had nothing to lose. It takes one goal, and you’re battling for every ball and never giving up.”
This season ninth-seeded Shorecrest (17-4-0) is set for another opportunity to reach the 3A championship game, as the Scots take on No. 4 Lakeside (Seattle) on Friday at 7 p.m. at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.
In 2021, it was the Lions, the No. 3 seed at the time, who ended then-No. 19 Shorecrest’s run in the state tournament’s round of 16.
“I think that the girls that got to be there last year in the final four, to have a taste of that … they kinda know what they’re doing this year,” Dalziel said. “It’s not as much of a surprise and something they have to figure out, and there’s some redemption that’ll come along with taking down Lakeside, because we’ve played them significantly enough in the last few years that we have some things to prove.”
The Scots core group of seniors has plenty of postseason experience to hang their hats on, as is the case for many of the past batches of upperclassmen Shorecrest has had in its run of 11 state tournament appearances in the past 12 full-length seasons.
“We’ve watched how other people have been able to lead the team,” senior forward Taylor Christensen said, “watched how people have failed and how people have succeeded. I think we’ve been able to pick up as group how we were going to do that, and I think that’s definitely been part of our success.”
Shorecrest graduated three all-league seniors from last fall and brought back four returners from the list. Current seniors Darci Dalziel and Tayvi Khann and junior Cassie Chesnut are all returning Wesco 3A/2A second-team members. Senior Tatiana Zahajko was a first-team goalkeeper.
“Because we’ve been playing with each other for all these years, we know how we play,” Darci Dalziel said. “We’re really connected in how we knock the ball, the way we play with each other is really smooth. … We’ve grown up playing together.”
With the team preparing for its semifinal showdown with Lakeside (16-2-3) of the Metro League, which advanced three teams to the 3A state semifinals, Khann, a midfielder, feels the group has the edge it needs after the Scots’ upset victory over Bellevue.
“I think we’re all super excited for it,” Khann said. “Going into Bellevue, we knew we had the grit, we knew we had to work hard for that. And just pulling it off, I think we have the momentum going into Friday. … In the game of soccer, you never really know. It’s whoever’s day it is, we really just have to put our best foot forward and play our game.”