SEATTLE - It's never easy to have a season end with a loss, but that is especially true for the Meridian girls' soccer team in their 1-0 loss at King's in the Class 1A State Soccer quarterfinals on Friday, Nov. 9.
Arguments could be made that Meridian had the better chances throughout the game and Trojan goalkeeper Abbi Rautenberg had a career-best game. But it wasn't enough as King's held on to advance to the semifinals.
"That was hands down the best game for Abbi," Meridian coach Andrea Ames said. "She has been improving dramatically and there were a few instances I thought they scored but she reacted so quickly and got to it."
The game started out with both teams attacking back and forth but neither created many chances on goal.
Rautenberg had a total of eight saves for the Trojans in the loss.
"The whole time I was just thinking, 'Oh gosh, I have to get this. I can't let it past me,'" Rautenberg said. "We played really well and I couldn't ask for a better team."
Rautenberg is one of six seniors on the team. It was an emotional night for each of them as their high school soccer careers are now over.
"There were a lot of emotions, but that's like any big game," Ames said. "I think we did a good job of not getting flustered or worked up and played even keeled in the second half."
The Trojans were the team to break down, though, in the final 20 minutes of the first half. King's scored in the 25th minute when Anisa Uberuaga found herself on the end of a through ball and was able to dribble it down and shoot it just wide of the oncoming Rautenberg to find the back of the net.
"We talked about not letting up before the game," Ames said. "Unfortunately we had one of those lapses and they scored on it. That's just part of the game though. You can't let up; it just takes one play."
The Trojans performed a lot better in this game than they did in their previous match against King's on Friday, Oct. 26, in the district tournament when they lost 2-0.
Ames thinks the team caught King's off guard with their intensity in this game.
"The girls left everything out on the field," Ames said. "Every player was committed and played 'til the buzzer and that's what it takes. Their coach came up afterward and said she was impressed with the heart that my girls had."
Meridian came out rapidly in the second half and created three chances on goal in the first five minutes. They were able to possess the ball more and found ways to beat Kings down the sideline creating most of their chances.
"We played a lot more aggressively," Rautenberg said. "We stepped it up and really wanted it."
Meridian was able to take 10 shots, forcing the Kings goalkeeper to make five saves on the night.
"We talked about how we needed to possess the ball a lot better and not just play kickball during halftime," Ames said. "When we started to do that we created a lot more chances. I would say we didn't get beat but rather we ran out of time. I think we could have scored if we had another 10 minutes."
With the loss, Meridian ended its season as one of the top eight teams in the state in 1A.
"I think that of the four teams eliminated this round, we are the best," Ames said. "I am so proud of them. We are one of only three teams in our conference to make it this far this year and the only 1A school to do it."
Meridian will hope to achieve the same success it had this year next season. Ames said it was really good for these players to see the example the seniors gave in their final season with the amount of hard work and dedication they had.
KINGS 1, MERIDIAN 0
Scoring: Goal: Anisa Uberuaga (Kings), time: 25:00. Shots on goal: Meridian 10; Kings 13. Goalies (saves): Meridian: Abbi Rautenberg (8); Kings: Allie Monea (5).