The Central Valley soccer players seldom lack for confidence.
Perhaps that was the difference Saturday at Albi Stadium, as the Bears took a 1-0 win over University to earn another trip to the State 4A semifinals.
The Braves will face Kennedy Catholic at 6 p.m. Friday in Sparks Stadium in Puyallup, chasing their third state title in five years.
The Bears won it all in 2013 and 2014. Midfielder Anna Hilbert was there for the second title as a freshman.
“That was the best feeling ever, and it will be great to go back as a senior,” said Hilbert, who helped CV control possession against the Titans.
Through a scoreless first half and much of the second, CV did everything well but score, and that was OK with coach Andres Monrroy.
“I think our strategy went perfect,” said Monrroy, who coached the back-to-back state titles. “We played our strategy and played the wings. And we controlled the midfield – when you control the midfield, you control the game.”
The top-ranked Bears (16-0) did that all afternoon against a U-Hi team they’d beaten twice earlier in the season.
Their best early chance came in the fourth minute, but U-Hi keeper Madi Szafransky cleared a point-blank shot over the bar for a corner kick.
The Titans (10-7) had a great chance off a counter in the 10th minute, and seconds later CV’s Megan Robertson came back with a shot that was just wide of the left post.
“They were marking us pretty tightly, so coach wanted us to play wide,” Hilbert said. “But when we were open we started going down the middle, and that was working.”
The payoff for CV’s patience came in the 58th minute, when Robertson found herself alone at the top of the penalty box.
“I found some open space, took my touch and just shot it,” said Robertson, a junior forward, who also scored in a first-round win over Sumner on Wednesday.
Central Valley outshot U-Hi 16-6. CV keeper A.J. Crooks made five saves while Szafransky made eight.
Frankie Schade scored in the second overtime to give West Valley (10-9) a 4-3 win over Port Angeles and berth in the semifinals.
Trailing 2-0 at halftime, the Eagles got goals from Abby McConnell, Kyla Beity and Schade to take a 3-2 lead after 72 minutes.
The Roughriders (13-9) scored with a minute left in regulation to force extra time.
Madelyn Leiberg had two assists for the Eagles, including Schade’s winner.
Kellie Fitzpatrick had three saves for West Valley, which advances to the semifinals at 6 p.m. Friday in Shoreline, Washington. The Eagles will play North Kitsap or Liberty.