RENO — No team had ever won four straight state soccer titles prior to this season.
Arbor View’s girls changed that on Saturday.
The Aggies made it four consecutive state crowns by defeating rival Coronado, 2-0 in the Division I state title match at North Valleys High.
“This is unbelievable,” Arbor View coach Jay Howard said. “This year we were really starting over with this group, and it was unfair pressure on them. … We just kept fighting, and we never gave up. It’s a real tribute to the kids.
“Every year is special and every year is unique. This group, I’m really proud of the way they handled everything.”
Both teams began the match by playing conservative and defensive. Coronado kept its best player, Taylor Kornieck, at midfield while Arbor View looked to get something going over the top of the Cougars defense.
Finally in the 34th minute, Arbor View (21-1-1) broke through with a chip over the Coronado defense which then led to a Sierra Vicente goal off a cross from Hannah Ferrara.
Vicente struck again in the 69th minute, this time hitting teammate Deja Erickson with a gorgeous pass. Erickson’s goal put Arbor View up 2-0 and effectively put the game out of reach.
“When Sierra first passed it to me, I basically knew,” Erickson said. “I knew we were going to make it because that’s what we’ve been practicing all season. I was just so happy to finally seal the deal. It finally became real that we’d won.”
Vicente had a monster state tournament, assisting on four of the Aggies’ nine goals.
“We play together all the time,” Vicente said. “I just know their runs and what they’re going to do. I can count on them being there.”
Coronado wasn’t without its chances. The Cougars watched as several game-tying balls either went wide or were batted away sophomore keeper Haylee Niemann, including a fantastic save in the 62nd minute to preserve the lead.
Niemann registered her 19th shutout of the season. Arbor View allowed only eight goals all year.
“We’re not like any other team,” Arbor View’s Allyssa Larkin said. “We work together and we really fight throughout every game no matter what the score is. We had to overcome a lot of things. Everything wasn’t in our favor. Everything was against us, but we were able to overcome and win.”
Coronado (19-2-2) lost only twice all year — both to Arbor View, which also defeated the Cougars in last year’s state final.
“We’re just proud of these girls,” Coronado coach Dana Neel said. “They played their hearts out and did the best they could. I’m just proud of them. … We got our shots, we had our possessions; it just didn’t go our way.”