Tacoma sends two to the semis

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Senior midfielder Jamisynn Hughes digs in. Photo by Rocky Ross

Much of the fall high school sports seasons wrapped up over the Nov. 11-12 weekend, and some Tacoma-area teams stepped-up their game and brought home state tournament hardware. More importantly, there are still a couple teams in the running for a state championship trophy.

The PCL MVP, junior Makenzie Burks. Photo by Rocky Ross

One of the biggest shockers in the area, let alone the entire state, is the incredible season-long run put together by the Stadium High School girls’ soccer team.

Freshman Kayla Fraser has been strong for the Tigers. Photo by Rocky Ross

No matter how good a team is, most sports fans will tell you that a lull is going to happen at some point in the season. That’s why undefeated teams are pretty rare when the season tally reaches up to 20 games.

Junior goalkeeper Katherine Nelson leads a defense that has given up just nine goals in 18 games. Photo by rocky Ross

When the Prairie Falcons paid a visit to Stadium Bowl on Friday, Nov. 10, they entered with a squad that had not only won the 3A Greater St. Helens League, but had went toe-to-toe with the best 4A teams in the Vancouver area. To some it looked like the sort of equalizer against a Stadium team coming from a 3A Pierce County League that hasn’t necessarily set the soccer world on fire yet.

The undefeated Tigers would pay no mind to any of this sort of speculation as they dropped the hammer on Prairie with a 4-0 shutout. Pierce County League MVP Makenzie Burks scored her 27th goal of the season, while teammate Alexis Lamb put two scores into the back of the net, and Ella Nadeau added another.

The victory pushes Stadium’s record to an astonishing 18-0-0 on the season. More importantly, it secured them a berth into the 3A state soccer semifinals on Friday, Nov. 17, at Sparks Stadium against Bellevue (14-5-1). First kick is set for 4 p.m.

“Friday was beyond nerve wracking,” said Stadium head coach Adam Becker. “All day, I was nervous, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep. Any loser-out situation brings out nerves especially when you don’t know your competition. When that first goal went in it seemed the weight of the world fell off my shoulders.

“We had an opportunity, due to an injury (during the game), to pull the team together and tweak our shape and personnel in the field. It gave us the security to get one more before half. Then I knew we were going to win.”

As for Bellevue, the Tigers haven’t worried about big time scouting all season, so they are going to stick to what brought them to this point.

“I don’t know anything about Bellevue,” said Becker. “All I know is they should be top notch and be able to test us on both ends of the field. We’ve now scored seven goals in three loser-out games and only given up one. Bellevue has taken two games to penalty kicks. So we’re feeling confident there, but at his point in the season it’s anyone’s game.”

Speaking of goals scored and goals allowed, the differential for Stadium is almost comical. The Tigers have scored 91 goals on the season, while giving up just nine.

While they may not boast a perfect record, the Life Christian girls’ soccer team is also in the running for a state championship. After knocking off Friday Harbor 4-1 on Friday, Nov. 10, in Sedro-Woolley, the Eagles have advanced to the 1B/2B state semifinals.

Life Christian (13-4-0) will face a familiar foe on Friday, Nov. 17, at Sunset Stadium at 4 p.m. Three times this season, the Eagles have fallen to the Adna Pirates (16-2-0). All three games were tight, and it’s safe to say that this game should go down to the wire.

We will soon find out whether both, or either, of these two Tacoma teams has what it takes to bring a state championship back to the City of Destiny.

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