Photos by Kurt Howard
Seattle Christian's Tanna Brinkman (far right) shows her enthusiasm after her goal.

SLIDESHOW: Girls 1A Championship Soccer Game - University Prep (3) @ Seattle Christian (2) 11-17-2012

SHORELINE - Sustained pressure from an aggressive opponent ended the unbeaten status of the Seattle Christian girls soccer team in a 3-2 Class 1A WIAA/Dairy Farmers of Washington/Les Schwab Tires championship loss to University Prep of Seattle on Saturday, Nov. 17, at Shoreline High School.

"That's the best talent we've seen, so it took a little bit of getting used to," said Seattle Christian head coach Melissa Dunckley. "It took us out of our rhythm for part of the first half, and we couldn't quite get it back in the second half. They had high pressure and they were fast out wide. We came back again, but just could not make one more comeback in the second half."

From the opening whistle the Warriors (20-1) were on defensive alert with U-Prep (17-2-1) entrenching themselves in SC territory for the better part of 27 minutes on the strength of crisp ground passing and singing speed.

Puma persistence paid off when Claire O'Brien kicked in a four-yard goal from the left side off a rebound in the 23rd minute.

Much like it responded to trailing for the first time all season in the round of eight match against LaSalle, Seattle Christian responded positively to the situation six minutes later.

Facing a 35-yard free kick from the middle, Warrior freshman defender Tanna Brinkman lofted the ball high over a leaping goal keeper into net for a 1-1 standoff.

"After our quarterfinal game against LaSalle, I really thought we could do it," said Brinkman.

Seattle Christian now had the initiative and control and peppered the area with good passes.

In the 34th minute, the Warriors grabbed the lead on an Abigail Kim crossing pass from the far right to Faith Pizzey who kicked the ball from eight yards out into the center right of net.

Facing a foe which refused to yield the field, the SC defense was breached once again by UP. Linnea Soo sent a crossing pass from the right to Alex Wilson in the 37th minute for the 2-2 halftime score.

"I was really hopeful after the penalty kick," observed Kimber Howard. "Our team is (made up of) all amazing people."

Against a sea of blue jerseys, the red clad Warriors spent most of the second half defending their positions against a continually attacking foe. This Seattle Christian defensive stance left it with little opportunity to mount up offensive charges.

University Prep broke through to take the lead in the 57th minute on an assist from Alex Wilson to Ayana O'Neal who scored what would eventually become the winning goal.

As the teams continued to converge upon each other in the convergent zone of steady drizzles and an occasional powerful wind, the Pumas drained away the clock with regular offensive thrusts to keep the Warriors from striking back. SC managed only one shot on goal in the second half and one corner kick. For the game, University Prep out shot Seattle Christian 10-5.

"It's amazing this team has come this far," said Faith Pizzey. "We were expecting to win tonight. University Prep is highly skilled and we had to watch the outside speed."

SC was seeking its ninth championship in school history and first since 2006.

Seattle Christian can look back at marvelous monuments of success this season. In addition to a Nisqually League title, the Warriors earned a Tri-District 1/2/3 championship while notching 18 shut outs, including 17 in a row at one stretch of games..

SC also earned the 1A girls soccer Academic Award with a team grade point average of 3.737.

"Going to state is always one of our goals at the start of the season," said coach Dunckley. "After we played those tough teams at (Tri) district, we realized that we could really do it. We weren't playing for second place, but we have lot of young players. We're hopeful (for next season) with our underclassmen coming back. I'm really proud of our girls."

Players for the Class 1A state second place Seattle Christian squad are Erin Swain, Mikayla Wrolstad, Payton Hibbard, Kimber Howard, Abigail Kim, Emily Bjornstad, Faith Pizzey, Megan Nielsen, Cassidy Stobart, Taylor Hentschell, Morgan Gaston, Tanna Brinkman, Shaina Mitchell, Julia Eng, Isabelle Responte, Ally Zimmer and Karissa Kleps.

Head coach Melissa Dunckley is assisted by her husband Zack Dunckley. The athletic director is Craig Wrolstad while Gloria Hunter is the SCS superintendent and Stephanie Knipp is the principal at Seattle Christian High School.

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