Video: Squalicum girls' soccer wins state semifinal
Few teams can go toe to toe with Squalicum girls’ soccer team.
Liberty did just that Friday night, shutting down the Storm forwards in the first half and challenging goalkeeper Rachel Runnalls on multiple occasions.
But the Storm showed just how complete a team it is in a 2-0 Class 2A state semifinal victory over the Patriots on a near-freezing Friday, Nov. 20, at Shoreline Stadium.
Sarah Hulbert struck a rocket from 25 yards out just minutes before halftime to put Squalicum on the board and Kim Hazlett found the net from about the same distance in the 54th minute to give the Storm the win.
With the victory, Squalicum will face Ridgefield, which beat Ellensburg 5-1 earlier in the night, at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21.
“It feels awesome. The girls worked really hard,” Storm coach David Kish said after the game. “We knew this was going to be a battle tonight. Liberty is a great side and they did have a lot of possession at times in the game. The girls stuck to our game plan and did what we needed to win.”
Neither team seemed to really get in the swing of the game through the first 35 minutes, until a throw-in from Kendra Steele found Kim Dorr, who was surrounded by Patriot defenders, as had been the case all night for the Storm attack. Instead of taking on the scrum, Dorr delivered a pass back to Hulbert, who delivered a screamer past the Liberty goalkeeper.
It was only Hulbert’s fourth goal of the season, but it came at the perfect time.
“I’ve been wanting those balls for a long time and I’ve scored on a couple of them,” Hulbert said. “Luckily our forwards know exactly when they’re pressured and make good runs to make space and open up the defense in the midfield.”
While the midfield’s main duty for the Storm is to defend, the players are ready to showcase their shots when the opportunity arrives.
With such a tough set of forwards, defenses often have to leave the midfielders unmarked, Kish said, which is exactly what happened Friday night.
“(Hul)bert’s in the right position and we’ve scored a couple goals in the postseason from our midfielders just coming in unmarked at the top,” Kish said. “We’ll just crack shots. It was a beauty from (Hul)bert. I’m glad she scored that goal.”
The goal did more than just put a number on the scoreboard for the Storm, which started controlling possession from then on.
The reward for the extra time on the ball was Hazlett’s 54th-minute goal, when Kendra Steele headed the senior spark plug the ball and — in her typical fashion — Hazlett turned and fired a looping left-footed shot over the goalkeeper’s head to make it 2-0.
It was the future University of Portland player’s 35th goal of the season and she did it despite battling the flu earlier in the week.
“Obviously she brought a ton of energy,” Kish said of his star. “It’s a freezing cold night. You can see the frost on the turf and so we needed energy and she had a lot of it. ... We talk about a spark and she had it.”
From then on, the Storm just had to hold off a pressing Patriots side.
It was the defense’s turn to shine against a speedy, talented set of Liberty forwards, led by Makenna Carr.
Carr had two of the Patriots’ four shots on goal, including a 42nd-minute long ball that tested the reach of Runnalls.
“I was impressed with my defense. Liberty’s forwards were good and were quick,” Kish said. “One of the stops of the night was Jayden (Nguyen), one on one with a player who had the edge on her. She got to the ball, turned the offensive player and played the ball up the field.”
That defense will again have to be strong on Saturday when Squalicum defends its state title against superstar forward Taryn Ries and the Ridgefield Spudders.
“Well we know they have a great offense. Taryn Ries is a stud, a super quality player,” Kish said of the Spudders’ forward, who scored three second-half goals in Ridgefield’s semifinal win. “We know a lot happens through her. She’s super strong and a lot of plays come from her.”
If the Storm can contain Ries, it gives a chance to the dynamic Squalicum offense.
“I want our girls to attack,” Kish said. “We have a fantastic offense so I want to see it shine.”
A win Saturday would give the Storm its second state title in school history and a perfect ending for this senior class, which has changed the face of this program.
For those seven seniors, there’s just 80 minutes left to be played and they’re hoping the trophy they lift at the end of it will be the championship.
Squalicum 2, Liberty 0
Goal: Sarah Hulbert (Squalicum), assist: Kim Dorr, time 37; Goal: Kim Hazlett (Squalicum), assist: Kendra Steele, time 54. Goalies (saves) — Liberty: Sydney Argosino (2), Jasmine Curl 1; Squalicum: Rachel Runnalls (4). Shots on goal — Liberty 4, Squalicum 5.