Squalicum’s stout defense helped the Storm pick up a 3-0 quarterfinal victory over Fife in the Class 2A girls soccer state tournament at Franklin Pierce High School.
The victory puts Squalicum (17-2) back in the final four for the second consecutive year. The Storm will play the winner of the Archbishop Murphy-Bellingham quarterfinal match Saturday.
“We have unfinished business,” Storm coach David Kish said. “We are driven to make it past where we were last year. As long as we play our game, we’ll be OK.”
The Northwest Conference champion tallied what proved to be the winning goal in just the game’s third minute.
Defender Payton McNally kicked the ball free from Fife’s Madison Gale, and Squalicum took possession. McNally shot a pass to midfielder Lizzy Herda, who dished to an open Lauren Gibb at the top of the Trojans’ box.
Gibb’s 15-yard shot whizzed past Fife goalkeeper Amber Nielsen for a 1-0 Storm lead.
Fife never seemed to get good scoring opportunities — and when it did, Squalicum goalkeeper Lauren Eckert registered easy saves. She finished with four.
“Our defensive back doesn’t get enough of the credit they deserve,” Kish said. “They don’t put up the stats, but they are just a hard group to score on.”
Fife, which was looking to make it back to the semifinals for the first time since its back-to-back state championships (2007-08), also had a tough time handling the weather. When the Trojans (16-3) tried advancing the ball through the air, the rain or wind killed it.
Squalicum grabbed a 2-0 lead on Kim Hazlett’s header in the 32nd minute, then got a second-half goal when Herda smashed a shot from the right corner of the Fife penalty box that hit the post and fell inside the goal in the 64th minute.