Two years ago the Skyline Spartans eliminated the Puyallup Vikings in the first round of the boys Class 4A state high school soccer playoffs.
The Vikings avenged that defeat in dramatic fashion, earning a 2-1 win in double overtime in the opening round of the 4A state playoffs Wednesday night at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.
Puyallup senior Shohieb Azami broke a tie at 1 with a goal at 1:36 of the second five-minute overtime session, punching the Vikings’ ticket to the quarterfinals. They’ll face Bellarmine Prep – 2-1 winner Tuesday over Snohomish – on Saturday. Vikings coach Matt White said the sequence that resulted in the winning goal was something his team discussed at the conclusion of regulation.
“This team is very coachable,” White said. “We wanted to play the ball to Andy (Jeppesen) and get it back to Christian (Rath) before having Shohieb go one-on-one with their No. 6 (Daniel Richardson). It wasn’t pretty, but it was exactly what we wanted to happen.
“To talk about it and see it happen on the field was great.”
Vikings senior midfielder Brett Bertrand, who played the second half with a sprained knee, was elated after seeing Azami’s shot find the back of the net.
“We put him on the right side and told him, ‘Anything you get, go directly at the goal and just go for it.’ That’s what he did,” Bertrand said of Azami’s goal. “Going to the quarterfinals is something you can’t describe. It’s an amazing feeling. We have never been in this position before. The last couple of years we have gotten knocked out earlier in the playoffs. This is going to be a great experience for us.”
Azami was thrilled he was able to come through in the clutch for his team.
“I had the opportunity. I saw the ball, took one touch, took it to the right and shot it into the goal,” Azami said. “That was my dream to score a goal like that. I did my best.”
Vikings keeper TJ Josephson said the loss two years ago weighed heavily on his mind in the days leading up to the showdown with Skyline. Josephson was the starting goalie on the Vikings’ 2010 team.
“We played them two years ago and got knocked out, 3-0. It was embarrassing,” he said. “Winning tonight is the greatest feeling of my soccer career right there.”