Wait, was that a smile from Joe Waters?
The 12th year coach of the Bellarmine Prep girls soccer team had just congratulated his team after a 4-0 victory over Wenatchee in the first round of the Class 4A state tournament Tuesday at Mount Tahoma Stadium.
They clapped in a huddle and Waters said, “We’ll see you on Thursday” for the team’s next practice ahead of its state quarterfinal match later this week — at a day and time to be determined — against Gonzaga Prep, which beat Todd Beamer 1-0.
“Joe, can we see you smile?” one player asked.
He cracked one, maybe more to appease the audience than anything. Another player pinched his cheek.
Waters guided Bellarmine Prep on streak of nine consecutive state tournament appearances — including a title in 2004 — from 2003-2011. That was followed by three years of watching the tournament as a spectator. So he had plenty of reason to crack a smile.
“You enjoy it while you can,” Waters said. “They think I’m too serious some times, but you got to keep them focused. They are a young team. We’ll live in the moment for now, but we got another game to be played.”
The Lions (12-2-4) have won six consecutive matches and haven’t lost since Oct. 1 against Curtis.
Taylor Crawford scored two goals Tuesday, and Taylor Montgomery and Riley Welch added two more in a match Bellarmine dominated from start to finish.
“I don’t think at the beginning of the year we expected we’d be here,” said Bellarmine Prep’s junior defender Mallory Price, who helped the defense record its sixth consecutive shutout.
“We’ve just got more comfortable with each other. A lot of us are from different (club teams) so we just needed to get used to playing together.”
Bellarmine Prep jumped out front in the 15th minute. The ball was caught in a crowd of players on the right side in front of the goal and Crawford got the goal when it broke free and rolled into the goal for the 1-0 lead.
Wenatchee did have a look at the goal in the first half, but it rolled right of the goal.
Then it was all Bellarmine.
Wenatchee goalkeeper Lena Schrodter had two saves in two minutes. She dove and deflected Emily Walsh’s shot from left of the goal in the 29th minute, only Montgomery was right there for the rebound with a wide open net in front of her.
She sent it in for the Lions’ 2-0 lead.
Crawford scored her second goal from about the 20-yard line on the far right of the field. It lofted its way almost perfectly into the top right corner of the goal.
“I feel great for them,” Waters said. “It’s great to have us back (in the quarterfinals) again. Sometimes you kind of lose perspective. It was nine years in a row we went to state. You forget sometimes that it’s so difficult to do it. But when you don’t make it for a couple of years and then you do, you appreciate the hard work and effort that goes into it.”
And you maybe even smile.
CLASS 4A STATE FIRST ROUND
At Gonzaga Prep 1, Beamer 0: Darby Doyle tallied the lone goal off a 35-yard free kick in the 19th minute, and the 4A Greater Spokane League champions made it hold up at home over the Titans (16-3).
Zoe Boleneus posted the shutout for Gonzaga Prep (16-2). Beamer was the 2007 state runner-up.
CLASS 3A FIRST ROUND
At Southridge 2, Auburn Riverside 1: Haley Thomas’ 35-yard blast in the 62nd minute broke up a 1-1 tie, and the Suns kept the Ravens from winning their first state playoff game in Kennewick.
McKenna Boulet connected from long range in the fifth minute to give the Ravens a 1-0 lead.
But the Suns, the defending state runners-up, tied it up shortly after halftime on Kayleen Sambrano’s header goal off a free kick by Thomas.
Auburn Riverside (13-7) is now winless in four state appearances.
Central Kitsap 2, Marysville-Pilchuck 1 (4-2 shootout): The Cougars are headed to the state quarterfinals for only the second time in school history.
Central Kitsap (16-2-1) advances to face Edmonds-Woodway after Lauren Hudson’s goal in the 22nd minute tied the match at 1-1 and the Cougars went on to win in penalty kicks.
CLASS 2A FIRST ROUND
At Ridgefield 7, Fife 0: Taryn Ries recorded a hat trick in each half — six goals total — and the reigning 2A Greater St. Helens League champions rolled past the Trojans in Ridgefield.
Ries, a junior midfielder, scored the game-winner in the 12th minute with a 35-yard shot past Fife goalkeeper Siena Camp, who got out of position on the play.
Ries added goals in the 17th and 36th minutes for the Spudders (16-2). She also had the assist off a corner kick to Erin Siegel, who scored on a header in the 33rd minute.
The Trojans, who won Class 2A titles in 2007 and 2008, finished 14-4.
At Squalicum 3, Steilacoom 0: It took two goals midway through the second half for the defending Class 2A state champions to pull away from the Sentinels (11-8) at windy Civic Stadium in Bellingham.
Kim Hazlett scored her second goal on a header off Rachel Dorr’s corner kick in the 60th minute to give Squalicum a 2-0 lead.
Nine minutes later, Kim Dorr gave the Storm (20-0) an insurance goal.
Black Hills 6, at Highline 4: Joslin Lindsay tallied five goals, and the Wolves (15-5) got past the first round for the first time in school history with a victory at Highline Stadium.
Lindsay, a senior forward, now has 78 career goals, and is the Wolves’ career leader.
CLASS 1A FIRST ROUND
At Connell 2, Cascade Christian 1 (SO): The Cougars held a 1-0 lead in their first state appearance in school history all the way until the final minutes of regulation — but lost in a shootout at Connell High School.
The Eagles (14-5) won in penalty kicks, 4-2.
Hailey Brandner, the 1A Nisqually offensive player of the year, gave Cascade Christian a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute when she took a cross from the right side, turned and blasted a 10-yard shot into the back of the net.
Cierra Vickerman tied it for the 1A SCAC champions in the 78th minute.
Ashlyn Hannus and Nicole Soupley tallied goals in the shootout for the Cougars (10-8).
Staff writer Todd Milles contributed to this report.