By Matt Massey
ISSAQUAH – There will be loads of girls soccer talent on display when Issaquah High School plays hosts to the 3rd Washington/Oregon Showcase Invitational Sept. 7-8.
The event features three of Washington state’s best girls soccer programs – Bellarmine Prep, Skyline and Issaquah – and two of Oregon’s finest from the Portland area – Tualatin and Westview.
Tualatin finished ranked No. 3 nationally last fall in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll and won the Class 6A state title in Oregon with a 19-0 mark and 90-2 advantage over foes in goals scored. Skyline ended up 17th in the final poll of 2011.
“It’s probably the best five teams perennially in the Northwest for the last 10 years,” said ninth-year Issaquah coach Tom Bunnell, whose Eagles Class 3A state titles in 2004, 2006 and 2007. “Bellarmine has always been good, and Skyline and Issaquah have been very good the last 10 years.
“You won’t find five teams who have compiled as much as these teams have.”
The five participating schools have brought home 14 state championships dating back to 1996.
Bellarmine has won a state-best five state titles in 4A and Skyline has captured three 4A crowns, including the 2011 title. Tualatin has secured three 6A state titles – 2005, 2006 and 2011.
“Tualatin is very good, and they’ll be ranked pretty high nationally when the first poll comes out,” Bunnell said.
The series, which started in 2008 when Tualatin coach Rosie Rocca called Bunnell for a nonleague matchup, provides two matches each for the Washington teams and three for the Oregon schools.
Issaquah fell 2-1 in overtime in the KingCo 4A championship match to eventual state champ Skyline. The Eagles return seven starters from a 9-5-2 squad, led by 4-11 playmaking dynamo Audrey Thomas.
Skyline finished 18-0-2 last season, beating Bellarmine 1-0 in the 4A title match.
Between Issaquah, Skyline and Bellarmine, the trio of Washington schools have made 18 state-championship game appearances.
In the final NSCAA Region VI poll, Tualatin was No. 1, Skyline No. 4 and Bellarmine No. 6.
Daily admission is $5 for students and $7 for adults. A weekend pass is $10.
3rd Washington/Oregon Showcase Invitational
At Issaquah High School
Friday, Sept. 7 & Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012
Friday, Sept. 7
Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma) vs. Tualatin (OR), 3 p.m.
Skyline (Sammamish) vs. Westview (Beaverton, OR), 5:30 p.m.
Issaquah vs. Tualatin, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 8
Bellarmine Prep vs. Westview, Noon
Skyline vs. Tualatin, 2:30 p.m.
Issaquah vs. Westview, 5 p.m.