Kicking it with the Phins' Goalie: Women's soccer comeback story

The SCC womens soccer team took 3rd place in the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC)
Championship Tournament for the first time in 7 years, defeating two regional champions
despite only placing third out of six in Washington’s north region.
The Phins nearly lost their playoff seat to Whatcom, which had originally placed third in the
region. To make it, the Phins had to score a definitive win against Whatcom. Exceptionally
difficult, as a draw or a loss wouldn’t force Whatcom to cede their championship ticket to the
Naturally, Whatcom chose to play defensively throughout the game. “You could tell by their
formation,” said Nazarena Hernandez, the Phins’ goalkeeper. “Their backline was pretty full,
their midfielders weren’t trying to score. They were trying to be like almost other defenders.”
The Phins’ coach, Matt Dorman, caught on and adapted their offensive plan,
“The coach made a lot of substitutes in the front to see if one person could figure out how to
break through all those people,” Hernandez said. “It ended up being our defender who scored.”
According to SCC’s Athletics Department, Phins Midfielder Caty Miller was fouled about 45
yards out from goal, giving the Phins a free kick.
In one of the most incredible shots of the season, defender Chelsea Foster took the free kick
and successfully scored. The Phins managed to hold on to their one point lead for the rest of the
game, and secured their playoff spot.
The Phins then traveled to Sammamish High School and played against the West region
Champion Bellevue Bulldogs in their first round in the tournament.
“I think we started it off very weak,” said Hernandez “They were possessing, passing (the ball)
around just like we were cones.”
However, as the game dragged on, Hernandez said the team started realizing if they could
maintain focus on playing their best game, they could compete with the Bulldogs and seize the
"We came in... knowing that we barely got to the playoffs,” she said. “Knowing we were playing
a regional champ and knowing that they thought they were gonna walk through the game easily.
So we knew we had to prove ourselves.”
Hernandez’ contribution to the game was immense. Although both teams scored, the game
stretched into penalties, where she made a clutch save.
“I waited until the last second and we made eye contact,” she said. “(I was) just trying to get in
her head."
All four of the Phins’ kickers scored in the penalties, taking a 5­3 victory over Bellevue.
They then traveled to Lane Community College to play against the South Region champions —
the Lane Titans.
The Phins once again played strong defense against the third highest scoring team in the
league scoreless, and drawing another decisive penalty shootout.
Hernandez, who already had five saves in goal, pulled two saves in penalties. It was her second
save, she thinks, that gave the rest of the Phins’ kickers the extra boost of confidence needed to
win the game.
As she expected, after her save all of the Phins’ remaining kickers scored, advancing the Phins
to the semi­final with a 4­3 victory.
Now in the semi­finals, the Phins were up against Spokane, the East Region Champion and the
second best scoring team in the league.
Like their previous games against high­scoring teams, the Phins adopted a defensive formation
and sent a midfield to mark Spokane’s leading scorer. Through two halves, Spokane’s offense
was circumvented as Hernandez made seven saves with help from backliners, keeping the
game drawn at zero.
“There was a couple players who could’ve done some easy combination against us and taken
shots,” Hernandez said. “But my defenders did a really great job on covering those gaps.”
Hernandez thinks the overall vibe during the game was “let give it our best, it’s been working so
“Even though their skill might be better, their techniques might be better, we had proven that our
hard work had gotten us this far,” she said. “We earned our spot.”
Despite giving it their all, the game went to over­time. The game was decided by a Spokane
corner kick, which resulted in a header that launched the ball straight into the Phins’ goal,
bringing their season to an end with a 0­1 loss.
But Hernandez isn’t disheartened.
“Overall, we were happy with the way we went out,” she said. “I don’t think (the goal) could’ve
been prevented... Everyone gave it their all. I think at the end of the day, it just wasn’t meant to
She thinks the experienced coach and staff had a lot to do with the Phins’ success.
“I don’t think we would’ve been able to get this far if it wasn’t for what they are every game,” she
“They knew how to adapt our formation they ended up working really well,” she said.
With freshmen as the majority of SCCs women’s soccer players, Hernandez thinks they did “a
good job representing the school and starting off their career here at Shoreline.”
Next year, Hernandez plans to bring back a trophy. This season, she said, is just a preview of
what’s to come.

_Calvin Li

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