It took exactly one minute to turn Mia Corbin into the star of the night.
Corbin, a freshman midfielder for Tahoma High School, came off the bench, kicked the ball as hard as she could and gave her team a 1-0 win over Puyallup in the South Puget Sound League championship game Tuesday.
Her goal, in the 77th minute, was on the heels of a corner kick by senior midfielder Brie Hooks that dropped into a scrum of players around the net. Corbin got a foot on it and scored from 15 yards out for the Bears.
“I practically had a heart attack on the field, I was so excited,” Corbin said. “I just wanted to kick it as hard as I could. It was a really exciting moment. I had no idea it would go in.”
It poured all 80 minutes of the game at Federal Way Memorial Stadium, and both teams had difficulty getting their footing – in more ways than one.
“I think we had a couple chances, but they defended well,” said Tahoma coach Jason Johnson, who said his team came out flat. “They knew that we liked to get forward so they made sure they had enough numbers on the ball, which frustrated us.
“But we just continued to work and work (and) we did some things that were dangerous, and we were able to find the net.”
Despite being boxed in for the first 14 minutes, the Vikings then controlled the ball in front of Tahoma’s goal for most of the half.
“We grew into the game and by the second half, we had it most the half at their end, keeping them under pressure,” Puyallup coach Matt White said. “We just didn’t get the finish.”
White said his team came in “knowing that we had a lot to learn” against Tahoma, which finished third in last year’s state tournament.
Still, Puyallup was able to hold Tahoma to one shot on goal in the second half.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, that was the shot that counted.
“She brings really fresh legs,” Johnson said of Corbin. “She’s completely cool off the bench.”
Tahoma had a near-miss in the 44th minute as a long kick hit Puyallup goalie Ashley Homer and then sailed wide right on the rebound.
Puyallup’s best chance came in the 53rd minute when senior midfielder Reanna Clemenson’s kick slid across the goal and nearly slipped into the left corner.
Johnson said that knocking off the SPSL South champion is a “mixed bag.” The undefeated Bears are the No. 1 seed into the Class 4A sub-district tournament, while the Vikings are No. 2.
“I feel like we have an even bigger target on our back than we had,” Johnson said.