TACOMA – West Valley’s girls soccer team did something no other Eagles’ team before them could: Reach the state championship game. And the Eagles’ performance Saturday in the 2A State Championship game was befit of champions.
But perfect isn’t easy, West Valley found. The Eagles, 21-0 entering the day, lost 3-2 to Ridgefield by way of penalty shootout at Mount Tahoma Stadium.
“This team, they’ve had a phenomenal season and they played their hearts out tonight,” coach CC Collins said of her squad. “I know how bad they wanted this, and it was unfortunate the way it ended.”
After a back-and-forth affair, the sides were deadlocked after 80 minutes plus 10 minutes of extra time. Goalkeeper Aubrey Lobdell made one save in the shootout, but the Eagles missed twice and Ridgefield netminder Gabriella Semlick saved two more to give the Spudders their program’s first state championship.
West Valley, too, made history. The second-place trophy is the program’s highest, and its first since a fourth-place finish in 2007.
“West Valley has never done something like this before,” Collins said. “They have to keep their heads high and be proud.”
On Saturday, the Eagles started admirably. In the 30th minute, junior Ashlyn Chase headed home a free kick delivery by senior Genesis Willis. That lead stayed until the 58th minute, when Ridgefield’s Brielle Suomi scored on a corner kick to even the score.
With only four goals conceded all year, the Eagles were in unfamiliar territory, but resolve isn’t something this year’s West Valley side was short on.
Just eight minutes later, sophomore Kyia Silva tapped in a whipped cross from sophomore Lauren Matthew to make it 2-1 in the 66th minute.
“We haven’t had matches like this all season and when we came in and played the toughest teams in the state, we never put our heads down,” Collins said. “We just kept going.”
Ridgefield had another answer in the 75th minute, however, when junior Ellie Wilson’s 18-yard shot found its way past Lobdell to send the game to extra time and eventually penalties.
The Eagles finished 21-1, with just six goals conceded on the year and the program’s second state trophy. So while tears were in abundance for the orange-and-black Saturday evening, it will be a year to remember in West Valley.