Deines Leads Huskies To Elite Eight, Ready For More
University of Washington junior midfielder Kate Deines has her team on the cusp of history. With a date against Boston College in the Elite 8 Saturday, the Huskies are one game away from reaching the College Cup Final Four.
And you don't have to go far to learn about the impact Deines has had on this team and the program.
"Kate's different from other players," said Washington head coach Lesle Gallimore. "She exudes leadership when she's on the field, and has a real positive effect on the team."
Originally from Issaquah, Wash., Deines received her first soccer ball at age one from her grandmother. Soon after, Deines was powering through the toddler league of Mighty Mites.
"I've had a love for soccer for as long as I can remember," said Deines. "I love being in the middle of the action."
This love of the game has not gone unnoticed.
"She is a complete player: technical, smart, a competitor, and a team player and leader," said Gallimore. "She has an absolute 100 percent dedication to the sport, a soccer junkie."
Deines's first game at Washington wasn't quite what she expected. Most girls who get recruited from high school and club teams train throughout summer, and when the transition is finally made to the collegiate level, everyone is faster, stronger and just plain better.
"It's a nightmare that still haunts me," said Deines of her first game. "I was like a deer in the headlights."
You wouldn't know it by following her career with the Huskies. Deines has started all 67 games since joining the program, including all 23 this season. This season, she is the team's leading scorer with a career-high nine goals and 19 points and has fueled Washington's remarkable run in the postseason.
After blanking Oklahoma 4-0 in round one, the Huskies won a triple overtime thriller over No. 2 seed Portland, 10-9. Deines scored two goals in the shootout, including the last one to secure the win. They followed that epic victory with a 1-0 road win over UC Irvine in double overtime to advance to the Elite 8, where they will face Boston College. It is the second time in school history, and first since 2004, that the team has advanced to the round of eight.
"We're taking everything one game at a time," said Gallimore. "You lose one and you're out. You don't get 17 games to fix it."
Practicing even on a snow day, the team has been staying the course and not losing focus on their goal.
"These girls all work hard, not wanting to be outworked by anyone," said Gallimore. "But none so much as Kate."
This philosophy has spread through the team, with Deines at its center.
"We're excited that we have this opportunity," said Deines. "It's a chance to make history for women's soccer and make this season last."
No Husky women's soccer team has ever advanced to the College Cup, but this team has unprecedented momentum. With an overall record of 13-8-2 and a conference record of 4-5 there were plenty of people who doubted this team's ability to make it to the Elite 8, but the hard work and determination of Deines and her teammates have proven otherwise.
"I feel we have peaked and have come together when it counts," said Deines. "We knew it all along, maybe not when everyone else did."
This driving belief has carried the team far, and hopefully will continue to do so to the Final Four in North Carolina.
"If you don't believe it, then what's the point of playing?" said Gallimore. "You have to believe in it to make it a reality."
Deines has taken this philosophy to heart and is proving the truth in it every chance she gets.
"We are as ready as we'll ever be," said Deines. "It's been a fun ride that we don't want to end."