SHORELINE — Early goals were the difference in Cashmere’s second straight trip to the 1A girls soccer state Final Four, but not in a good way.
Seattle Christian built off a fourth-minute goal to get past the Bulldogs 4-0 in Friday’s semifinals at Shoreline Stadium, and King’s needed just over a minute to take the lead on in its way to a 2-0 win over Cashmere (15-5 overall) to settle the third and fourth-place trophies Saturday.
University Prep took the state championship with a 3-2 win over Seattle Christian Saturday.
“(We were) beat up,” said longtime Cashmere coach Dennis Tronson, who also led the Bulldogs to a second-place state finish in 2011. “(Friday’s match) was just as physical a match as we’ve had in years, and we don’t play at that level. … We played great (Saturday), but we just couldn’t quite get that final pass in the box. And again, we put ourselves in a big hole like we did (Friday).”
MacKenzie Graham scored off an Ellie Griffis assist to put King’s ahead just 1:13 into Saturday’s match, and Olivia Baker added a tally at the 69:11 mark.
Tronson said Cashmere midfielder Tianna Helm had a stellar performance Saturday in the middle of the field, and he was especially proud of goalkeeper Zelia Zahir’s play a day after she suffered a leg injury against Seattle Christian.
“Zelia could hardly walk last night, but she sucked it up, played the full 80 (minutes Saturday) and did a great job,” Tronson said.
Cashmere’s best shot to get on the board was with about 16 minutes to go after a throw into the box, but the ball rolled up forward Lauren Johnson’s leg as the door of opportunity closed.
In a driving rainstorm Friday, the Bulldogs gave up a quick score to Seattle Christian’s Faith Pizzey in the fourth minute of action.
Cashmere nearly knotted the contest at 1-1 on a shot from Danielle Morseman from about 22 yards out, but the Warriors’ goalkeeper was able to tip the ball over the bar.
The Warriors (20-1 overall) then extended the lead with a score from Abigail Kim, who scored on a two-person breakaway off a rebound.
The Bulldogs again attempted to answer Seattle Christian’s goals with an offensive charge of their own and proceeded to put together a series of quality attacks on the net, which pinned Seattle Christian deep in its own territory.
Unfortunately for Cashmere, though, the opportunistic Warriors mustered a quick counterattack and Megan Nielsen scored the unbeaten squad’s third goal in the 62nd minute. The fourth goal came after several substitutions.
Zahir had three saves before leaving the game in the 67th minute.
Luckily for the Bulldogs, their second trip to Shoreline in as many years will come in handy next season, as all but one player (senior midfielder Jennifer Barajas) will be back.
Notes: The third-place trophy is the Cashmere program’s fifth piece of state hardware, all of which have been won since 1998…Zahir won the Sportsmanship Award for Friday’s game, and Helm won the same award Saturday.