La Center girls soccer earns fourth in state, best finish in program history

Cade Barker/


The La Center girls soccer team earned its best finish in program history after claiming fourth place in the 1A state tournament at Mount Tahoma Stadium in Tacoma on Friday, Nov. 17 and Saturday, Nov. 18.

The Wildcats exceeded their seed’s expectations by one spot. On Saturday, Nov. 18 in the third-place match, the fifth seed Wildcats took on sixth-seeded Montesano High School but fell 3-1. The day prior, the Wildcats lost to Klahowya High School, 3-0, in the semifinals game.

The history-making season for the Wildcats was head coach Horst Malunat’s first season at the helm, and he coached eight seniors this year.

“As a program they have never won a state playoff game. They’ve never been out of the first round,” Malunat said of the soccer program. “It was a brand-new experience for them to get that first win to get in.

“The Montesano coach who we lost to said this was their fourth time in the third-place game, fourth time in the semifinals and they had taken fourth three times in a row,” Malunat added. “This is the first time they took third. So, you just have to kind of get back, you know, the confidence to get back once you’ve been there. You’re a little hungrier and you have the confidence. So I think just getting back again, hopefully next year, and getting that confidence to get back there will help.”

The Wildcats finished their season 18-4.