RENO — Hannah Lee didn’t play the last two seasons for Bishop Gorman, but Saturday, her play in the net led the Gaels to a state championship.
Bishop Gorman’s soccer team scored three times in the second half to beat McQueen 3-0 and win the Class 4A girls state championship at North Valleys.
Lee played for the Gaels (23-2-2) as a freshman, but wasn’t able to play the last two years because she plays in a club league and wasn’t allowed to also play high school soccer. But that rule was changed this season, and Lee rejoined the team, and she sensed right away it was a cohesive team that was capable of something special.
“I knew with this team from day one,” she said. “We just meshed together so well the first day, I just knew we were going to do something great.”
Bishop Gorman coach Doug Borgel said Lee’s presence is a difference maker.
“We’ve had good goalkeepers almost every year, and this year is no exception,” Borgel said. “But to have somebody come out with her experience, being a senior, her leadership, obviously paid dividends for us.”
Lee, who has committed to play at Wyoming, pitched shutouts in both games of the state tournament, but in much different fashions.
Against Galena on Friday, the Gaels dominated possession and kept the ball away from Lee for most of the game, although she made a leaping save on what could have been a game-tying goal in the final minute.
But in the championship game, McQueen (16-3-2) kept the pressure on Lee, particularly in a first half in which both teams had several good scoring chances.
In the 29th minute, Lee made a diving save in front of the corner of the net, taking the ball off the foot of McQueen attacker Carly Waller, preserving the scoreless tie on what could have been a game-changing play.
“It might have been, but I knew I was getting it for sure,” Lee said. “I was getting that ball and she was not getting it.”
Bishop Gorman finally got on the board on its first serious parry of the second half, a goal by Taylor Cox in the 43rd minute, and Cox said it was at that moment that she knew the Gaels would win.
“It gave us a lot of momentum and it told us that we could keep going and get another one and another one and that we had this,” Cox said. “It told us that we could win it.”
Jaden Terrana scored the second goal of the game off a deflection by McQueen goalie Isabel Warren in the 66th minute, and Cox added her second of the game on a breakaway in the 72nd minute.
All that was left then was the celebration. Gael players dumped a bucket of Gatorade on Borgel with about two minutes left in the game, then at the final whistle, raced off the sideline toward the goal to mob Lee.
“I really wanted to win it, especially since it’s my senior year and I can’t contribute any more to my team,” Lee said. “I’m almost at a loss of words because this is so exciting.”