Laser-focused King’s set to begin state title defense | Girls soccer

Knights find success against 4A opponents
By David Pan | Oct 18, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan King’s Peri Welch keeps the ball away from Coupeville’s Natalie Hollrigel during a North Sound Conference game Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Woolsey Stadium.

In preparation for the upcoming postseason, King’s faced three tough 4A opponents and emerged with three hard-fought victories.

The defending 1A state champions recently defeated Woodinville 3-2, Redmond 3-0 and Inglemoor 2-1 in nonconference girls soccer action.

King’s also dispatched league opponents Cedar Park Christian – Bothell 8-1 and Granite Falls 2-1.

“I’ve been thrilled with the team,” King’s coach Nicole Gabelein said. “We’ve had six games in nine days and the girls are holding up really well. It’s very encouraging. But at the same time it’s always like you never know what’s around the corner. Every day you show up with something to accomplish. There’s always more we can improve on.”

With the victory over the Tigers, the first place Knights improved to 8-0-0 in the league and 13-1 overall.

King’s has outscored its league opponents 44-2. Senior Callie Wright leads the Knights with 26 goals and five assists. Sophomore Peri Welch has 11 goals and four assists and sophomore Annie Rasmussen has 11 goals and three assists.

Sophomore Meg Travis has emerged as key distributor of the ball with 10 assists.

The defense, which has allowed only six goals this season, is anchored by junior Delaney Peterson and senior Emma Culberson.

What stands out about this year’s team is how self-motivated the players are, Gabelein said.

“Their intensity is laser focused on what they’re doing,” the King’s coach said.

The Knights played one of their best games against Redmond.

“It was definitely a confidence booster,” junior goalkeeper Grace Roberts said. “It showed how well we can play together and how strong our team is.”

The Knights had to rally from a 1-0 halftime deficit on the road against Granite Falls. The coaches challenged the Knights and they responded with two goals.

The come-from-behind victory and the wins over the 4A opponents lifted everyone’s spirits.

“I felt like, if we put our hearts and minds to it, we can just accomplish anything,” freshman Rylie Crabtree said.

The team’s three seniors – Wright, Culberson and Sarah Nielsen – are providing strong leadership for a squad that includes seven sophomores and two freshmen.

Despite the age differences, King’s has a cohesive unit.

“They are having a ball together,” Gabelein said.

The Bi-District playoffs are scheduled to start Oct. 30.

“I want them to work hard, enjoy the process of fixing our holes, fixing things we need to work on,” Gabelein said. “I’m really happy with where they’re at. Every game they’re progressing. We’re going in the right direction.”

The Knights don’t seem to be feeling much pressure to defend their state title. It serves more as motivation for the players.

“It’s a way for us to grow off our state championship and just show that we still have the same team, the same mentality of a strong family,” said junior Sophie Ruhlman. “I think that kind of feeds us to come out stronger.”

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