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Bear Creek girls soccer scores second straight state title | Update
When Lizzie Udeschini scored first, she was ecstatic to get things rolling for her Bear Creek team.
"The first goal feels so good because it sets the pace for the rest of the game," said the Grizzly senior captain, adding that her 24th-minute netter "freaked out" the Napavine players because they knew it was time to strike back or a win would elude them.
But Bear Creek's defense held tight and the Grizzlies tacked on three second-half goals en route to a 4-0 victory and second straight 1B/2B state championship last Saturday at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner.
"It was nice to see that our hard work paid off, and we played seamlessly as a team," said Udeschini, who also scored Bear Creek's last goal of the match.
Added junior captain Caroline Bridgwater: "It feels great. To end the season like that — especially for our seniors — is very impressive."
Bear Creek (15-4 overall) also defeated Crosspoint Academy, 4-0, in last Friday's semifinal match to register a clean defensive sheet for the weekend.
Freshman goalkeeper Maya Shipway notched a pair of shutouts and had seven total saves, and Bear Creek outshot its opponents, 37-9, over the weekend.
Junior defender Brittany DiGenova, also a captain, said that her comrades in the back saw their goal of shutting out their opponents come to fruition.
"Our defense is really strong in that we all rely on each other. We're always willing to ask for help and we have each other's backs," DiGenova said.
Added second-year coach Brandon Gonzalez: "Our defense really upped their game. Crosspoint Academy's two forwards had a combined 54 goals and we were able to shut them down."
Offensively, Bear Creek was a powerhouse, also getting two goals each from Sara Hastings, Olivia Tillinghast and Jill Leszynski. Tillinghast scored the Grizzlies' first goal just over 12 minutes into the Crosspoint victory, the team's third triumph over the Bremerton school this season.
Bridgwater reached 23 assists on the year with three more and Leszynski and Whitney Isbell had two each.
"I have always played midfield and I definitely like that role on the field because it's all about vision — seeing who's open and who has the best shot. I rely on my teammates to finish," Bridgwater said. "It's always a thrill to put one in yourself, but I'm happy with my role and my assist record."
As for coach Gonzalez's role, he said he's happy that he can bring his coaching style and energy to the team and help the Grizzlies win a pair of state championships.
"I feel I have to stop doing this or people are going to expect it," he joked about winning two titles in two years of coaching at Bear Creek. On a serious note, he added: "They played well all weekend — well balanced on offense and defense. I'm happy for the girls — they want it the most."
DiGenova said that Gonzalez notices the girls' potential and is "always there to push us, make us realize that we can achieve more than we ever thought we could."