Entering this season, the Overlake School girls soccer senior tri-captains knew they had a young team and were curious about what was on the horizon for the Owls on the pitch.
“I think once the season did start, we realized how good we could be and our potential,” said Sofia Beachman as Kayla Ngai and Grace Fujinaga listened before a recent practice. “I think making sure in these big games that we play our hardest and maximize our potential and play to our tempo, that will definitely push us forward.”
And into the spotlight they went.
With 16 games under their belts, the Owls have reaped massive success with a 12-3-1 record and 1A Emerald City League crown after defeating Seattle Academy, 1-0, in the league championship tiebreaker last Friday. The two squads finished the regular season at the top of the table with 7-1 records.
League most valuable player Ngai netted the game-winner in the third minute off an assist from senior forward Janna Basra, and sophomore goalkeeper Jamison Foster notched the shutout to send the Owls back to the state tournament, which begins Nov. 6-7.
Overlake, which won state in 2016 with a 3-0 victory over La Salle, will play for the bi-district title against District 1 champion Kings at 5 p.m. Saturday at Starfire Sports in Tukwila for state seedings.
Ngai said it’s vital for the all the players to bond in order to shine. The versatile player has stepped into positions all over the pitch this season to help out where she’s needed. Each player makes the other ones better, she added, and they’re able to link their skills together when the ball is kicked into action.
Other Overlake standouts are all-league first-teamers Beachman, a midfielder, along with junior midfielder Anne Parsons Proctor and sophomore defender Jenna Lacy. Senior midfielder Keely Likosky jumped onto the second-team list.
Veteran Owls head coach Sally Goodspeed said the junior and senior leadership set the tone for the squad this season.
“They’ve got a lot of experience, so there’s a lot to pass on to the young kids coming in. We definitely have some younger players that are new and they bring energy, too, ‘cause it’s new for them and it’s exciting and they wanna prove themselves and contribute and be part of the group,” she said.
Foster has come up big between the posts and freshman forwards Maren MacDonald and Katy Simpson have netted a bevy of goals to go along with the scoring touch from seniors Ngai and Fujinaga. MacDonald, Ngai and Fujinaga have around six goals each and Likosky leads the team with 10 assists. Putting the clamps on opposing players on defense are seniors Claire Kaufman and Serena Home, junior Elle Penarczyk and Lacy.
“We take it from a fun practice to a very serious match, and we can switch that mentality very quickly, which is what I think makes our team so great,” said Beachman, who added that she’s a loud leader on the pitch. “You need to have a team that’s deep from your defensive line to your attacking line and that works really well together.”
Fujinaga’s intensity from playing lacrosse spills onto the soccer field and she said it’s refreshing to see the team working hard each day. She added that coach Goodspeed strives to make the girls closer as well.
“I love coming out to play, every season I get excited,” Fujinaga said. “I love our class, especially this year our team has bonded really well. I think that’s something that’s really gonna serve us well as we continue forward, just the close bond that we have on and off the field, because I think it shows in our chemistry.”