MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan – In the fall, E.J. King’s girls volleyball team finished third in two major invitational tournaments. In the winter, the Cobras came in second in the first Far East Division II basketball tournament since 2020.
On Wednesday, longtime teammates Aileen FitzGerald, Maliwan Schinker and Madylyn O’Neill took the final step to a Far East tournament title – the first D-II girls soccer title in school history. The Cobras beat Yokota 2-1 in the championship match.
“This was honestly a dream finish,” said FitzGerald, a senior midfielder who is headed to Indiana University this summer. “This was how I wanted it to end my senior year.”
It was also a comeback for the ages for the Cobras, who finished last in pool play, but won every one of their matches the rest of the way. They lost 5-0 to Osan in pool play, then beat the Cougars 3-2 in the playoff round.
“We came back better,” said Schinker, who led the Cobras with 26 goals this season, the last one coming late in the first half, breaking a 1-1 tie and capping King’s rally from an early 1-0 deficit.
“It’s like everything clicked at the end,” Schinker said. “The three of us have been in the same sports the whole time and this last game, it came together and we all worked together.”
Hailey Riddels put the Panthers on top with her 19th goal of the season, only to have the Cobras rally for a goal by Miu Best midway through the first half, setting the stage for Schinker’s winner.
“Mali always pulls us through,” O’Neill said. “When somebody needs help, she’s always there to cover. She has a big boot. She sees the field well; she always knows where to pass and where to be.”
Yokota was vying for its first D-II championship since 2018.