Fife soccer coach Tony Crudo is hoping his team’s loss to Archbishop Murphy in the Class 2A state championship game Saturday is a sign of things to come.
After all, a year after losing the 2011 title game, the Trojans came roaring back in 2012 with an undefeated season and the state championship.
“Maybe coming here and losing teaches you something about what it takes to win it,” said Crudo, whose team was shut out 3-0 by the Wildcats of Everett at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner.
“I’m not promising anything, but I like our chances of coming back.”
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Fife’s road to the title game included defeating a trio of top-seeded teams — but it was a single player, Archbishop Murphy midfielder Gabe Astone — that was the Trojans’ undoing.
Astone, a senior, tallied a pair of goals and an assist to give the Wildcats a 3-0 halftime lead they never relinquished en route to their first 2A state title.
“We’ve been looking forward to this game since freshman year when we made it to the quarterfinals and lost,” he said. “It’s just a great way to end it.”
Archbishop Murphy got on the board just 58 seconds into the game after sophomore midfielder Jensen Crisler was taken down on an aggressive run to the box.
The foul resulted in a penalty kick and Astone drilled it from the right — a sneaky departure from his tendency to shoot from the left.
In the 14th minute, Astone set up a neat pass from the left and sophomore forward Matt Williams tucked it into the back of the net from about 10 yards out.
Astone struck once more in the 21st minute when he blasted the ball it in from the left side just under the crossbar.
“I was like ‘This is the state final. This is crazy,’ ” Astone said. “I think this is the biggest game I have played — ever.”
Astone may have been surprised by his performance, but coach Mike Bartley was anything but.
“That’s what Gabe is capable of, and I’ve told people that all year long,” he said. “And he did it. I’m very, very proud.”
Bartley said the Wildcats knew their best chance at controlling the game would be if they could get off to a fast start.
“They’re lethal,” he said of Fife. “We knew that, so we wanted to score early.”
Fife junior goalkeeper Julian Tafola said Archbishop Murphy’s quick attack took them by surprise.
“All their goals were back to back, and we couldn’t find our rhythm between goals,” he said. “It was just hard to deal with.”
Still, Tafola said, they prevented the Wildcats from scoring in the second half.
“The only thing we had to do was fight for each other,” he said, “and I think we did that well.”
RAVENS PLACE FOURTH
Auburn Riverside’s goal pace slowed down at the wrong time.
After being shut out in a double-overtime loss to Interlake in the 3A state semifinals Friday, the Ravens were held to one goal in a loss to Ballard to place fourth on Saturday at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. Ballard took third. Their attacking third, led by 3A South Puget Sound League most valuable offensive player Adrian Correa, wasn’t able to score with the ease it showed through the first two rounds of the state tournament.
Interlake went on to win the 3A title with a 1-0 victory over Garfield. Snohomish claimed the 4A title with a 3-1 win over Central Valley, also at Sparks Stadium. Highland claimed the 1A title over Bellevue Christian in the other state title match at Sunset Chev Stadium.