The Spudders soccer team clinched its first state championship in program history after penalty kicks against West Valley High School of Spokane on Saturday, Nov. 18 at Mount Tahoma Stadium in Tacoma.
The Ridgefield girls soccer team’s motto of being relentless paid off after trailing twice by one goal in the second half to West Valley High School.
After tying the game up at 2 in regulation by goals from Brielle Suomi and Ellie Wilson, a scoreless overtime gave way to the dramatic round of penalty kicks to claim the 2A state championship.
The #7-seeded Spudders went 3-1 in penalty kicks to claim the state title over the #1-seeded Eagles.
“It was such a great moment and so cool to see it as a coach, you know, to see all the players on the team and the other coaches that were a part of the group be able to enjoy something so special,” head coach Steven Evans said. “And so I think all of us, we put in so much work and dedication and commitment to the team this year that for all of it to pay off for the team and for Ava [Kruckenberg] to win it as a senior coming back from an ACL injury on that penalty kick was very special.”
All season, the Spudders had community support, but once the team made it back to Spudder territory after their state championship match on Saturday, Nov. 18 in Tacoma, their biggest community accolades were just beginning.
“When we came home, we had some police escorts. Once we got off the exit, they drove us back to the school, and then there were so many people waiting for us back at the school, whether it was students or parents,” Evans recalled. “[It was] such a cool feeling to be able to see everybody and to see all that support when you get home at 10 o’clock on a Saturday night.”
To get into the state title game, the Spudders overcame league rival Columbia River, who beat Ridgefield twice in the regular season. When it absolutely mattered in the state semifinals, the Spudders won 1-0 over the rival Rapids.
“They’ve gotten the better of us many times, and they’re a fantastic team and always a great game when we play against them,” Evans said. “I think winning that game in the semifinal was really awesome for the group because it was kind of that block that we’ve hit. I think every time we’ve played them this year, we’ve gotten a little bit better, and so I think, as we were kind of hitting the playoffs, we were hitting our stride where we were really battle-tested.”
The Spudders finished their season 20-3 with two of those losses to the Rapids.