SHORELINE, Wash. — With only one half left to play in another terrific season, La Salle’s offense needed something special to regain its confidence.
The Lightning scored at least one goal and usually many more in their first 20 games before getting shut out by Cascade in Friday’s semifinal. So after they missed some golden opportunities against Seattle Academy in a painfully familiar first half on Saturday, coach Felix Hernandez used his halftime speech to remind his team how well it could score.
Tatiana White took the encouragement to shoot from long-range to heart, firing a rocket into the corner to put La Salle back on track. Kamryn Fiscus took care of the rest, scoring twice to carry the Lightning to a 3-2 win and a Class 1A third-place trophy at Shoreline Stadium.
“It just felt so great to see all of our hard work pay off,” said White, whose goal came in the 48th minute. “We were struggling finishing, but just to get those three in at the last minute, that just felt so good.”
Adrenaline helped her overcome a deep bruise she suffered in Friday’s semifinal, forcing La Salle to make adjustments in the second half of a 2-0 loss. Senior defender Emily Vernon also missed some time with a leg injury, and she returned to play a key role against Seattle Academy.
The four-time state champions pressured La Salle’s freshman goalkeeper Hayley Stohr, who handled crosses well all morning and saved nine shots. However, after Stohr blocked Lucia Rosenast’s point-blank shot, the Lightning freshman couldn’t stop the rebound from going in with less than five minutes left in the first half to give the Cardinals a 1-0 halftime lead.
“Hayley stepped up really well and did a great job for us,” Hernandez said. “She’s got a lot to learn and I think she’s figuring it out and I think this gives her a great idea of what it takes. I think she’s going to be such a good player for us in the future.”
A difficult save early in the second half kept La Salle within a goal, and Seattle Academy (15-4-2) took control briefly following White’s goal. Eventually, though, the Lightning answered by turning to a familiar hero.
Fiscus scored the game-winners in 2-1 first-round and quarterfinal victories against Cashmere and Deer Park, respectively, and she also scored in the other four state playoff wins of her career. So when freshman forward Gillian Martin capped off a strong run behind the defense with an assist to Fiscus for a high, hard shot in the 63rd minute, Hernandez finally felt comfortable on the sideline.
She added a second just six minutes later, which proved to be crucial when Seattle Academy’s Caitlin Calfo scored with less than a minute left to play. La Salle’s defense led by sweeper Lauren Desmerais held off one last attack before the whistle blew and the celebration began.
The program earned a trophy for the second straight year on the heels of a runner-up finish in 2016, and the Lightning (20-2) have won eight trophies in 14 state appearances, including a B title in 2008. Although senior starters Natalie Munguia and Vernon will be missed, Hernandez and White both expect the remaining players will be eager to continue their success next season.
“I think we’re going to be just as strong next year,” White said. “We have people coming up that can fill our senior spots and we’re going to be back.”
In the championship game, King’s outlasted Cascade 8-7 in penalty kicks to earn its first title. The scored was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation and extra time.
First half: 1, Seattle Academy, Lucia Rosenast, 36:00.
Second half: 2, La Salle, Tatiana White, 44:00; 3, La Salle, Kamryn Fiscus (Gillian Martin), 62:00; 4, La Salle, Fiscus, 69:00; 5, Seattle Academy, Caitlin Calfo, 80:00.
Saves: Hayley Stohr (L) 9, Ingrid Odmark (SA) 8.