SHORELINE, Wash. – There’s nothing like the first time. For Deer Park’s girls soccer team, the program’s first state championship will be hard to match.
The Stags were ruthless in a 20-1 season, outscoring opponents 156-11. In a 1-0 victory over fourth-seeded Seattle Academy in the State 1A title match on Saturday at Shoreline Stadium, the Stags played a more nervy affair than usual.
The Stags controlled possession for most of the first half and tallied five shots on goal. But Seattle Academy’s defense proved tough to penetrate.
“They were very good,” Deer Park senior Livvy Moore said of the Cardinals’ defense. “We just had to stick with what we know and how we play, and just adapt as the game went along.”
The first breakthrough for Deer Park came in the 11th minute, when Ella Carnahan got clear of the defense and powered an off-balanced shot past Seattle Academy goalkeeper Anica Carpenter. It was Carnahan’s 27th goal of the season.
“You want that goal, so you just have to put everything into it,” junior Carnahan said. “It really set the pace of the game and showed we could do this.”
Carnahan nearly scored again 3 minutes later, but Carpenter parried away the right-footed blast.
Again in the final seconds of the first half, Deer Park had a golden opportunity when Grace Martinson beat a defender with her first touch and fired a low burner that tipped off the goalkeeper’s fingers. The ensuing corner was nearly punched in, but Carpenter stonewalled the effort. Carpenter finished with five saves. Deer Park goalkeeper Hannah Krantz also made five saves.
The second half was lackluster for the Stags, who struggled to keep offensive momentum. Seattle Academy totaled four shots on goal in the second half, and ended the game with a corner kick that gave one final hope. But the Stags were privy to the cross and cleared it away to hear the final whistle.
Some early postseason tests – a 5-3 win over Freeman at the District 7 1A and a 2-1 win over King’s in the state quarterfinals – helped Deer Park understand the pressure and persevere, Carnahan said.
The program’s first state championship betters their fourth-place 2018 finish, a stepping stone to this year’s remarkable run. It was Deer Park’s ninth state tournament appearance, and fourth at 1A.
“It’s unreal,” Carnahan said. “It’s just really hard to comprehend that a such a small school could pull something like this off.”
Moore ended her senior season with 46 goals. She will play at the University of Oregon next season.
“There’s nothing like Deer Park soccer,” Moore said. “I played club; I’ll play college. But I’ll always remember Deer Park.”
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