SHORELINE, Wash. – The Newport Grizzlies will play soccer today. It just won’t be at 2 p.m. for the State 1A championship.
The Grizzlies, like every other Cashmere High opponent this season, couldn’t solve the Bulldogs during their state semifinal on Friday at Shoreline Stadium just north of Seattle.
Cashmere scored a goal late in the first half and went on to beat Newport 2-0 to earn a chance at the school’s first girls state soccer title.
Cashmere (20-0) will face Seattle Academy (17-3-1) in the 2 p.m. championship game after Newport (19-3) and University Prep (16-5-1) of Seattle play for third place at 10 a.m.
Win or lose, it will be the best state finish in Newport’s history.
“What did us in (during) the end was their speed,” Newport coach Jeremy Lewis said. “It’s adjusting to that speed of play. By the end, we started pushing it some.
“Too little, too late.”
The Grizzlies frantically stayed in the game for most of the first half. Despite looking at times unorganized, Newport kept the Bulldogs at bay and got some chances of its own.
The best of those opportunities came in the 17th minute.
Ryen Nicholas gathered the ball off the left corner of the Cashmere net, receiving a touch pass from the middle of the field. She settled the ball and let a shot go that slid past the goal post and hit the net on the outside.
“We started out OK,” Lewis said. “We got some looks early. It’s too bad we couldn’t have capitalized on some of those.”
Cashmere got the better chances, but only a few, through the first 35 minutes. Then in the 38th minute, Lauren Johnson played a ball into the Newport box from off the left side.
That cross headed toward one orange shirt, then another. Three Bulldogs simply couldn’t quite get a foot on it as the ball rolled toward the right corner of the Newport net about 8 yards out.
The fourth opportunity fell to Dani Morseman as she raced in off the right side. Her low line drive crossed the line just inside the right upright for the only goal Cashmere would need.
“They get a goal that snuck through the middle,” Lewis said. “We had defenders there, too. That was just a ball that was perfectly spread between people until it got to their kid.”
The Bulldogs added some insurance, however, in the 56th minute in the second half.
Breanne Knishka settled the ball between two Newport defenders in front of the goal and pounded a shot past Seger for the 2-0 lead.