That’s the only way Squalicum girls’ soccer forward Kim Dorr could describe the feeling after the Storm’s 3-1 win over Ephrata in the Class 2A Girls’ Soccer State Championship semifinals Friday, Nov. 21, at Shoreline Stadium.
After falling in the semifinals each of the past two years, Squalicum had finally made its first state tournament.
“I feel like the circumstances were just right,” Storm senior Sarah Byron said. “The first year we were new to this, the second year was about beating Sehome. For the first time, we believed this was our year.”
And the Storm wasted no time showing that belief.
In the fifth minute, Sarah Byron got open on a corner kick and headed in a ball from Michelle Saunders, putting the Storm up 1-0.
Just more than a minute later, Kim Dorr got wide open after a pass from Braeden Hilleary and calmly dribbled, settled herself and slotted it home to put the Storm up 2-0.
The Byron-Dorr 1-2 punch is no stranger to Squalicum sports, just not usually in soccer.
The two were tennis partners last spring and do just about all warmups and drills together.
“Just connecting together is an amazing feeling,” Dorr said.
The quick lead was not the most comforting thing in the world after the Storm started to show some letup midway through the first.
“It’s hard when you score two goals that quickly,” Squalicum coach David Kish said. “They lost that killer instinct because they scored so early. It was little nerve-wracking.”
The Storm were dealt a much-needed gut check when Ephrata’s Haley Berryman scored just two minutes before the half to make it 2-1.
It ended up being perfect timing for the Storm, which had time to regroup in the locker rooms at the break.
“I think that goal woke us up,” Byron said. “That one was like ‘OK, this is serious.’”
The second half was Squalicum dominated, but the Storm failed to get a solid chance on net with many shots falling away just wide or getting blocked by a defender before the Tigers’ goalkeeper AdriAnna Simmons could get her hands on it.
But it’s not as if the Tigers were generating any sort of attack of value, which meant a quiet night for Squalicum keeper Rachel Runnals, who only had to make four saves.
“We just had to come back and play the way we started the game, finding our mojo or whatever we want to call it,” Kish said. “Find that little spark we had in the beginning.”
As it often does for the Storm, that spark came in the form of junior forward Kim Hazlett.
In the 78th minute, Hazlett put the game away by finding a way to get her not-exactly-tall frame high enough to head in a Saunders’ corner kick.
Two minutes later, the Storm were allowed to celebrate the victory and it was one heck of a celebration.
“You can see it from the girls,” Kish said. “They’re ecstatic. It feels awesome.”
With the semifinals monkey off the Storm’s back, Squalicum can now relax heading into the Saturday’s 4 p.m. championship match against Shorecrest at Shoreline Stadium.
Squalicum beat Shorecrest 3-0 in the district title game two weeks ago.
“We’re where we wanted to be at the beginning of the season,” Kish said. “What happened two weeks ago doesn’t matter. Shorecrest is going to come out, they want a championship. We got to come out and want it more. These girls have been waiting three years for this moment. They’re going to come out and play.”
As much as the Storm wanted to get a win in Friday’s contest after losing at that point the past two seasons, the Storm might just want Saturday’s game a bit more.
“This is everything,” Byron said. “Nothing before this has mattered before tomorrow at 4.”
If anyone is prepared for a championship game, it’s Squalicum.
“It’s not an accident that we’re here. We’re here because we can play good soccer,” Kish said, ending with, “I want to win.”
SQUALICUM 3, EPHRATA 2