Seeing Bishop Gorman, Coronado and Faith Lutheran among the final four teams in the Class 5A girls soccer state tournament isn’t a surprise.
They have combined to win the last five state titles in the top classification.
The fourth team in the semifinals, Liberty, might have been a preseason surprise, but the Patriots claimed wins over Gorman, Coronado and Faith Lutheran and finished in second place in the 5A Southern League.
Liberty coach Charity Schmitt said those wins have given her team a confidence boost entering the state semifinals.
“No one really expected us to make it this far,” Schmitt said. “We’re going against the three powerhouse teams that are usually here. We came in as an underdog and under the radar, and the girls are excited.”
The 5A state semifinals begin Friday at Coronado with top-seeded Gorman playing No. 4 Coronado at 10 a.m. and No. 2 Liberty playing No. 3 Faith Lutheran, the reigning state champion, at noon. The state title match is at 10 a.m. Saturday.
“It’s no surprise these were the final four,” Gorman coach Doug Borgel said. “I’m kind of glad of that because these are the four best teams all year, and we’re still alive to play for the title.”
After realignment in the offseason, 5A, the top classification, was made a Southern-only conference with 10 teams. Through league play, and facing every team twice, the four separated themselves, with the Gaels (18-3-2) claiming the regular-season title.
“Confidencewise, it’s been huge,” Borgel said. “This is a pretty difficult schedule playing 18 games against really high-quality teams and not having a night off. To navigate through that and come out on top with the best record says a lot about our staff, our kids and their commitment to the ultimate goal.”
“There’s no room for an off-game or any room for an average game,” Borgel said. “Down to these four teams, everybody can beat anybody. Whoever plays the best is going to win, and anything less than that, you won’t be surprised when you’re not there.”
Led by sophomore Ayva Jordan, who missed part of the season while she trained with the U.S. women’s under-17 national team, the Patriots (15-3-1) have “talent everywhere” to win the title, Schmitt said.
“They’re excited because they know that it’s right there,” Schmitt said. “There’s two games left, possibly, and with beating all these teams that they have, they know they have the confidence to win at all.”
Liberty defeated Faith Lutheran 2-0 on Oct. 3, but the Crusaders (17-4-2) are clicking, having won eight straight since the loss.
“We are going to be as prepared as we can be defensively and tactically to defend our state title,” Faith Lutheran coach McKenzie Karas said. “It’s exciting knowing no matter what happens in this game or who makes it onto the next game that all of these teams are top-quality. No matter what, each game will be a good game.”
In 4A, Southern Region champion Foothill will face Bishop Manogue in a state semifinal at noon Friday at Carson City. Centennial will play Northern champion McQueen in the other semifinal at 10 a.m. The state title match is at 10 a.m. Saturday.
In 3A, Southern Region champion Pahrump Valley will play Elko in a state semifinal at 3 p.m. Friday at Cristo Rey. Virgin Valley will play Truckee in the other semifinal at 1 p.m. The state title match is at noon Saturday.
Class 5A girls soccer state tournament schedule
Game 1: No. 4 Coronado vs. No. 1 Bishop Gorman, 10 a.m.
Game 2: No. 3 Faith Lutheran vs. No. 2 Liberty, noon
State title game
Game 3: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 10 a.m.