Vikings have won 18 in a row as they prepare for 2A final four
The Selah High girls soccer team finds itself in a familiar position this week as it continues state tournament play at the Class 2A final four.
The Vikings have become state playoff mainstays over the past five years, earning a trip to the final four in 2016 and claiming the CWAC’s top seed in three of the past four seasons.
But this year feels different to Selah’s senior team leaders. After going 19-0 last year, only to lose in the state quarterfinals, the Vikings were determined to get back to the final four this time around. And why stop there? These girls want to finish their high-school careers on top.
“We’ve learned from the past and we’re at our best now,” said Baily Thompson, a defensive center midfielder and one of seven seniors on the roster. “We’re more mentally strong this year and we’ve been pushing ourselves. We have the team to get back to the final four, and maybe win the whole thing.”
(UPDATE: The Vikings opened state tournament play on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at home, defeating Orting 10-0. They went on to beat North Kitsap 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday, Nov. 16.)
The final four will take place Nov. 22-23 at Shoreline Stadium, north of Seattle.
Senior midfielder Isabelle Moultray — a four-year varsity starter, along with Thompson — is confident that this is the Vikings’ time to shine.
“Last year was tough because we went 19-0, but we didn’t win when it counted,” she said. “But this year, we lost to La Salle early on and that helped show us that we aren’t unbeatable. That loss was tough, but it made us stronger.”
The Vikings (19-1 overall) suffered their only loss of the season Sept. 10 against La Salle, the 2018 Class 1A state champions. Since then, Selah has rolled off 18 consecutive victories and has allowed just six goals during that stretch.
Prior to the state quarterfinal win over North Kitsap, their biggest test came in the CWAC district championship game on Nov. 5 — a 1-0 victory over Ellensburg. The Vikings players believe the Bulldogs provided the kind of test they will need as they prep for the state’s best teams.
“Ellensburg is our rival and they always play us tough,” said Moultray, who scored the only goal of the match early in the first half. “It was a tough, physical game and we had to earn it.”
Moultray and Thompson were joined on the all-conference first team by senior defenders Ashlynn Hall and Sierra Richardson, senior striker Roni Rasmussen and junior striker Chloe Andrews.
The Vikings will be losing two more senior leaders, midfielder Meighan Reiber and goalkeeper Madysen Muir, but there appears to be plenty of talent coming through the ranks.
Andrews is a scoring threat every time she touches the ball, while freshmen Brooke Reiber and Allison Moultray have already earned the respect of their teammates and head coach Todd Martin. Sophomore defender Maya Hall, sophomore goalkeeper Jayden Horton and sophomore midfielder Alexia Rodriguez also will help lead the Vikings into the future.
“We have a lot of strengths at different spots, and the younger players have been pushing us for playing time,” said Ashlynn Hall, the senior member of the “Hall Wall” along with her sister and fellow defensive stalwart, Maya. “Seeing the younger girls fight so hard makes all of us have to play our best when we’re in the game. That’s really made our team better.”
Isabelle Moultray agreed, saying that the future of the program is looking good.
“We have a solid team with a lot of depth,” she said. “We have players on the bench who would be starting anywhere else, so we feel confident no matter who is in the game.”
But before the seniors can hand over the reins of the program, they’ve got work to do this weekend at Shoreline Stadium.
“We’ve been here before, so we know what it takes,” Ashlynn Hall said. “We just need to keep our focus and stay unified. That’s going to be key if we’re going to go all the way.”
Check wiaa.com for updates on the state soccer tournament.