Interlake Saints 2016 graduate Austin Ball put together a senior season for the ages this past spring on the soccer field.
Ball, who was the Saints leading scorer while garnering first-team all-state honors during his squads’ Class 3A state championship season, will play for the Western Washington University men’s soccer team in Bellingham this fall. Ball departed his Bellevue home for Bellingham on Aug. 8 and is already competing in practice sessions with his new teammates on the pitch. Interlake head coach Dan Peterson believes Ball has the physical skills and mental makeup to thrive at the collegiate level.
“Austin got significantly better each year through his four years of high school. He turned the corner last year from being a good varsity player to being a star varsity player,” Peterson said. “He is just one of those guys who keeps grinding ever year. If he continues to do that, I see a lot of success for him in his future.”
Ball’s legendary toughness was on display in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs this past May against Mount Spokane. Ball sprained his ankle during warmups and Peterson figured his best offensive player would sit out the entire game in a winner-to-state, loser-out pressure packed contest.
Peterson was wrong.
“Austin didn’t play the whole first half. He came out in the second half and scored in about the first 30 seconds and then didn’t play the rest of the game. He literally played 30 seconds, scored a goal and then couldn’t play anymore (due to injury),” Peterson said.
The Saints won that game 1-0 on May 17 in Spokane to advance to the Class 3A quarterfinals.
“He was absolutely clutch for us. It would had been really easy for him at Mount Spokane or our next playoff game (3-1 win against Columbia River on May 21) to say I can’t play and I’m too hurt. He didn’t do it. He really battled through it and came through for us. He was phenomenal for us. Austin scored almost every goal that we scored in the playoffs. He certainly scored every big goal that we needed.”
Peterson said opposing team’s focused on stopping Ball during the playoffs but were unsuccessful.
“He was our leading scorer and every other team knew he was the guy to stop and he still figured out a way to score,” he said.