The perfect season for the Archbishop Murphy High School women’s soccer team was in serious jeopardy.
After spending most of the fall passing their opponents in a completely dominant fashion, the Wildcats were down 1-0 against defending state champion Columbia River in the second half of last month’s Class 2A semi-final. .
It was the first deficit of the season for Archbishop Murphy. And as the minutes passed, the Wildcats’ hopes for a state title and an undefeated campaign faded.
Jordyn Latta came to the rescue.
With a pair of goals in the final 12 minutes of regulation time, the senior forward saved Archbishop Murphy’s dream season and propelled her side to a 2-1 comeback victory.
And in the State Championship game the following night, Latta added another goal to help the Wildcats claim the state crown and end a perfect season with a 2-0 victory over Hockinson.
“She’s a clutch artist,” Archbishop Murphy coach Mike Bartley said. “She absolutely comes when you need her. And she won for us in the semi-finals and the state final.
Latta’s semifinal and league exploits capped a spectacular senior campaign.
She totaled 26 goals and 26 assists, two team records for the talented Wildcats.
As one of Archbishop Murphy’s four players with at least 15 goals, she helped lead her team to an unblemished 23-0 record and a staggering 125-7 goal differential.
And between her goals and assists, she contributed 41.6% of the Wildcats’ score.
For her extraordinary season and the major role she played in Archbishop Murphy’s undefeated race to the title, Latta is the 2021 Herald’s Women’s Football Player of the Year.
“This team did things that no other team (of Archbishop Murphy) has done,” Bartley said. “… It’s just amazing. This whole season was.
“And Jordyn was a big part of that.”
Latta, however, took credit for his all-star crew from his teammates.
It was complemented by a trio of other top scorers, senior forward Jojo Chiangpradit (24 goals and 21 assists), senior forward Taylor Campbell (15 goals and 17 assists) and junior midfielder Cameron. Bourne (20 goals and 16 assists).
University of Montana senior midfielder Reeve Borseth, State Coaching Association 2A Player of the Year, added five goals and 13 assists.
Borseth also teamed up with senior defenseman Jessie Killian, junior defenseman Claire Esping and senior goaltender Allie Williams to anchor a stingy defense that has allowed just seven goals all season.
“I really don’t think a single player has carried our team throughout this period,” said Latta. “I think it was a combination of everyone. … Everyone got involved. Everyone helped everyone to be successful.
“So I don’t take any credit for myself, and I don’t think anyone else does for our success. I think as a collective whole we are all doing together.
Bartley praised Latta for helping foster the Wildcats’ team mentality, as evidenced by his high assists tally.
“I don’t think you’ll see too many forwards who have as many assists as they have goals,” Bartley said. “And I think that says a lot about her. I mean, there were some easy opportunities that she could have converted another goal or two, but she decided to just fire it and give it to (a teammate).
“It says a lot about her priorities and (doing) what was important to the team, rather than herself.”
Latta, who is left-handed, has generally played on the left wing throughout his club football career. But for her junior and senior high school ball seasons, she moved up to the striker position.
Bartley said that Latta’s greatest strengths are his finishing ability, drive, speed and intelligence.
“She’s a clinical finisher,” Bartley said. “She’s good on both feet, shooting, volleys, ending up in the air with her head. And then she’s an ultimate competitor. She is fearless. She comes into the box attacking a ball and she’s super brave, which I think has paid off for the season. She’s athletic and quick, which most people don’t realize until she’s around them.
“But I think the most important thing is that she’s very smart. … She just looks at a situation and can read it very well and then take advantage of it.
As part of an ultra-talented senior class, Latta and the Wildcats would likely have contested for the State 2A title in 2020. However, the fall 2020 season has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and there were no state tournaments during the abridged season last spring.
“Last year was kind of taken away from us,” Latta said. “I think we really could have maybe won the state title. But I think before this (season) we were really impatient. And once we started playing the first two games, we just got more and more excited because we realized how really good our team really was.
Latta and the Wildcats took Wesco 3A / 2A by storm, finishing with a score of 15-0 and a league goal differential of 84-6.
They also dominated the playoffs, beating their opponents 33-1 in their seven district and state tournament games. Latta was instrumental in their playoff success, totaling nine goals and five assists during that span.
And when adversity struck in the state semifinal, she persevered and rose to the challenge.
Latta received a yellow card in that game, prompting Bartley to substitute her for a bit. While on the sidelines, Columbia River scored the go-ahead goal to take a 1-0 lead.
“Once I got that yellow I was obviously very upset,” said Latta. “I was very devastated. … And then we scored when I was on the sidelines. And I was like, ‘I have to go back. I need to do something. I need to help my team.
“I felt a lot of pressure on myself because I hurt my team at that point when I got my yellow.”
After stepping into the game, Latta more than made up for the yellow card.
In the 69th minute, Latta received a ball from Borseth on the left side and shot an equalizer in the far corner of the net.
And with less than five minutes to go, Chiangpradit passed over the defense and into the path of Latta who slipped through the middle. Latta then passed the ball over the goalkeeper, sending it bouncing through the goal line for the match winner.
“At that point, we were all thrilled,” Latta said. “We knew we had won by then. We were all panicked. … Our team really showed up at the end of this second half and we really showed what we were made of.
Latta scored again the following night, scoring a 46th-minute goal that gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead and helped seal the state title.
“Once the referee blew the whistle and we won this game, it was such a relief that we finally did,” said Latta. “We all ran towards each other and we all kissed. … It was like the perfect moment.
Latta is not sure what her football future holds for her. She said she is considering playing in college, but is weighing her options.
One thing, however, is certain: By having a perfect season, Latta and his teammates are leaving behind a lasting legacy for Archbishop Murphy.
“It was kind of a great trip (that) I think every step of the way, every game, we really enjoyed and we really enjoyed,” she said.
“Every step of the way was super special.”