If a championship is going to be won on a single shot, it helps if that shot is indisputably perfect.
The one that beat Bellarmine Prep, 1-0, in the 4A girls soccer championship Saturday night at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup was worthy.
“It was a great strike,” Lions coach Joe Waters said. “Nobody was going to block that; right in the top corner. It’s a goal worthy of winning a state championship. When you’re beat by something like that you have no complaints.”
The goal that gave Skyline its third championship in four seasons came in the 22nd minute.
The Spartans had dominated to that point and earned a free kick from about 18 yards from the right post. Left-footed junior defender Lianna Simms stepped up and sailed the ball directly into the far top corner.
“I saw the backside was wide open, and I like to hit it far,” Simms said. “So, I just aimed far bar and it went in. It curved in. I practice a lot with my left foot, and it was like the perfect opportunity. I mean, it’s a tough shot. I don’t know if I could do it again. It was good, though.”
While Waters credited the strike as better than good, he also was unhappy with the way his Lions had played until then.
However, he had no complaint with how they responded afterward.
“In the first half we didn’t play well,” he said. “We really weren’t ourselves. But in the second half I think we’re more proud of the effort they put in. They did everything they could. They played some great soccer, some great chances. It just wasn’t to be for us this year.”
Bellarmine dominated the second half and had several promising chances in front of the Skyline goal. However, balls went over the bar or wide of the post – and Skyline goalkeeper Tina Vargas gobbled up the rest for her 11th shutout of the season.
The Lions continued their pressure through the 80th minute, when a final shot by Haley Lee was blocked and cleared.
“Bellarmine Prep realized they needed a goal, so they started throwing a couple kitchen cabinets and a sink up there at the end,” Skyline coach Don Braman said. “I really like the way the girls held under that storm. Bellarmine’s a strong team, and they understand there’s no point in losing 1-nil if you didn’t give everything. Tonight, Bellarmine gave everything and they should be really proud of their girls.”
“I couldn’t ask any more from them,” he said. “… (Skyline’s) goalkeeper had a fantastic night. We knew she was a fantastic goalkeeper. And the girl scores a fantastic goal on the free kick. That’s the beauty of the game; all the different skills involved were on display tonight. Skyline came out with a great intensity, and then in the second half we overcame that and we dominated it, but just without having that extra little bit.”
Bellarmine was playing its eighth championship match and seeking to add to its five state titles. The Lions played much of the game with chants of “Lions Power” drifting down from the stands.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 email@example.com twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/preps