Hoffman finds saving grace in her last high school soccer game

"They misspelled Catharine Hoffman’s name in the official Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) state soccer tournament program.They really butchered it. Not just “er” instead of “ar” in “Catharine,” but something almost unintelligible — “Calhanre” — sort of like somebody fell asleep at the keyboard, hit some random keys with their forehead and let the result stand for publication.The mistake, though, is probably just fine with Hoffman. The Klahowya Secondary School senior has much more to remember the tournament by than a mangled word in a program.“This,” she said moments after the Eagles had beaten Riverside 2-0 in the championship game of the state Class 2A tournament at rainy Federal Way Stadium, “is just about the perfect way to end my high school soccer career. I couldn’t think of anything better.“We won, I made some good saves ... what more could I ask?”Hoffman made six saves in collecting her second shutout in two days as the Eagles finished off their run to the state championship. None was bigger, though, than her stop of Anna Bowers’ point-blank shot 12 minutes into the second half, diving to her left and stopping Bowers’ skidding shot just before it passed the left goalpost.That save preserved Klahowya’s 1-0 lead. Eight minutes later, Nicole Zygmontowicz would score to give the Eagles a 2-0 cushion and pretty much end Riverside’s hopes of a comeback.“I like it when I make a tough save, because then I really feel like I made a difference,” Hoffman said. “It shows up on the scoreboard.”Hoffman remembers a day when the difference between her having a great day and merely a good one meant holding an opponent in single figures scoring. Her sophomore season, the Eagles — then in their first year — absorbed some terrible beatings, playing the types of games that give goalkeepers nightmares.Fitting, then, that her prep career should end with the dream of a state championship coming true, and her playing an integral role.Hoffman almost didn’t return to the team for her junior season, but saw enough light at the end of the Eagles’ tunnel to persuade herself to come back. Times still were hard, but Klahowya turned a corner, playing respectably against the larger schools in the Olympic League and advancing to the state 2A quarterfinals.“I couldn’t have quit,” Hoffman said earlier in this year’s playoffs. “I couldn’t have don that to the team. And I wouldn’t have missed this for anything.”Now the Eagles must replace the only goalkeeper they’ve ever had.“It’s not going to be easy,” said Klahowya coach Troy Oelschlager. “She’s been a great player for us.”"

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