Sunday, June 25, 2017 This Week's Paper

Bellarmine Girls Advance to Final Four

// Lions shut out league foe South Kitsap

Coming off of their 3-0 shutout of Puyallup in the first round of state on Nov. 8, but with lingering thoughts of their 4-3 district final against Jefferson fresh on their minds, the Bellarmine Lady Lions had to face the reality that the further they progressed, the tougher the competition would be as they got closer to their goal of getting to and winning the state title. So they had to maintain that defensive mentality with every upcoming game.

And facing their Narrows League nemesis, the South Kitsap Wolves, for the third time this year, the task at hand would be even bigger. But Bellarmine was up to the challenge, as Kelly Beck’s header which found the net in the sixth minute would be all they needed, and the Lions earned a trip to Sparks Stadium in Puyallup on Nov. 18 and 19 to face Gig Harbor in the state semifinals with a hard fought 2-0 win on Nov. 12 at Mt. Tahoma Stadium.

“The girls put in a great effort, they knew how tough South would be,” said an elated coach Joe Waters of his state-bound squad. Clinging to a slim one-goal lead, the multi-talented Stephie Hamilton would put the capper on this match in the 73rd minute when she found the back of the net from close range.

“Stephie stepped up big tonight, she was fantastic,” added Waters.

“I tried to imagine what it would be like going to state, but it still hasn’t set in yet. I expect it to tomorrow,” said Hamilton with a wide grin.

“Getting that early goal really helped loosen the girls up,” said Waters, as the Lions continued to apply pressure throughout the first half and kept the South Kitsap attackers away from the front of the Lions net.

The field for the final four promises to be a good one with top-ranked Skyline facing upstart Tahoma in the opening semi at 6 p.m. with the Bellarmine-Gig Harbor game to follow at 8 p.m on Nov. 18. The Lions will hope to advance to the state finals, set for Nov. 19 at 4 p.m., with the consolation game before it at noon.

As the finals get closer later in the week, emotions tend to run a little high and it will be no different with the Narrows League champions.

“We’ve been real good about taking it one game at a time this season,” said Hamilton. “And the final four will be no exception.”