By Ainslie Cromar and Riley Clarke,
The NWAC sports commentator recited the names of all 29 players on Highline College’s roster and the 20 on Clark’s before the two teams jogged to their starting positions, anxiously awaiting for the game to begin.
Once it did, head coach Sean Janson said the field at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila became “a battle.”
Clark women’s soccer team placed third in the NWAC after losing a 4-3 penalty kick shootout to Highline College in the Semifinals Friday.
Clark held an early lead in the nailbiter, scoring a goal 12 minutes into the game. But the penguins fell behind in the second half. Then, a goal by Clark’s Sarah Teubner in the 85th minute forced the game into a double overtime before leading into a final penalty kick shootout.
Teubner played the entire game with a broken left foot. While it hurt, she said she was happy to compete.
“Every time I take the boot off I know I’m doing it for the right reasons,” Teubner said. “Honestly, if I got shot I would still be on the field with them.”
Janson said he was fortunate to be a part of this year’s group despite Friday’s loss.
“I have never felt so proud of a loss in my entire life, especially one of this magnitude,” he said.
Janson said Friday’s semifinals loss was a “180-degree difference” from last year’s quarterfinal defeat. He said last year the team went into the post-season play believing they were going to win, but this year they had no preconceived thoughts on the outcome.
“I thought this was the best game we’ve played all year,” he said.
Huddling in the center of the field after the game, the associate head coach Jeff Castagnola told the team that he saw their unrelenting pride. He also said that this game topped off the sophomores’ soccer career.
“Sophomores, you’re ingrained,” Castagnola said. “Not only in Clark College but in our hearts.”
Freshman Maggie Higgins was goalkeeper throughout the game. She said that after Friday’s game she’s especially hyped for the next season.
“I want to get to finals next year. I want to take it all the way,” she said
Higgins said that if next year’s team plays like they did at semis and evolves from there, then they have a strong chance to win it all.
Clark finished it’s 2017 season with 11 wins and one loss, while capturing the Southern division title for the second year in a row.
Highline goes up against Peninsula College on Sunday in the finals. Peninsula, which defeated Tacoma 4-0 in the semifinals, beat Highline in last year’s championship game. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m.