Luis Roman is not a prototypical goalkeeper.
The Thomas Jefferson High junior has a burly 6-foot-1 frame that Roman thinks lulls opponents into a false sense of security.
“They think because I’m big I’m less athletic,” Roman said.
Roman made two diving saves in a shootout, leading the Raiders to a 1-0 win over Puyallup in the SPSL 4A boys soccer title match Wednesday at Sparks Stadium. Jefferson outshot the Vikings 4-3 in the shootout.
The Raiders are the league’s top seed and advance to the West Central/Southwest Bi-District playoffs. Jefferson will face the winner of a play-in game at 4 p.m. Saturday at Art Crate Field.
Puyallup will meet Kentlake at 2 p.m. Saturday at Art Crate Field in another winner-to-state, loser-out match.
Raiders coach Dave Hanson couldn’t be more pleased with Roman’s play.
“He reads the game so well,” Hanson said, “and he’s so quick.”
Roman gave the Raiders a boost when he swatted away Puyallup’s first penalty kick. Vikings senior Christian Rath sent the ball low and left, the opposite of the top right corner Rath usually aimed at when the two played club soccer together last summer.
Roman noticed Rath glance to the lower left corner and went with the hunch.
The next seven players – four Raiders and three Vikings – all converted their kicks, bringing up Puyallup goalkeeper T.J. Josephson to try to keep his team alive with its last shot.
Again, Roman guessed right.
“I’ve been in a lot of shootouts,” he said. “I know how to read guys.”
Jefferson won despite extending its scoreless streak to seven halves.
Emerald Ridge 3, Tahoma 2: Luke Munizza scored three goals, the last coming on soccer’s equivalent to a Hail Mary.
“Crazy, man,” ER coach Phil Harris said. “I’ve never been part of a game where the winning goal is scored with three seconds left.”
Munizza, a junior forward, scored two goals on headers in the final four minutes, lifting the Jags to victory in the match pitting the third-place team from the SPSL’s North and South divisions.
The game-winner was a you-had-to-see-it-to-believe-it moment.
Senior Luke Logan set up at midfield for a free kick and launched the ball toward a scrum of Jags and Bears stationed in front of Tahoma’s goal. The ball bounced near Munizza and he smacked it off his head into the net, sending his teammates into a raucous celebration.
“The ball was right in front of me,” Munizza said. “I went for it and it went in.”
Harris said he figured the Jags had a “50-50 shot” at converting the goal, pointing out Logan’s leg strength and knack for assists – he has 11 assists this season.
Munizza tied the score in the 76th minute when he scored on a header off a throw-in from Adam Fernando. Munizza’s first goal came in the 45th minute.
Tahoma took a 2-0 lead when Jordan Downing scored a minute into the second half.
Harris urged his team to stay focused.
“When we worry about us, we’re very good,” he said. “When we worry about the other team, that’s when we struggle.”
Emerald Ridge will face Stadium, the third seed from the Narrows League, at 11 a.m. Saturday at Mount Tahoma in a bi-district winner-to-state, loser-out contest. Tahoma plays Kentwood at 10 a.m. Saturday at Art Cratedoug.email@example.com 253-365-2975 blog.thenewstribune.com/preps @DougPaceyTNT