Kentwood secured a 1-0 victory over Garfield with a long throw in and header late in its opening-round match of the 4A state soccer playoffs.
In the 62nd minute – as Garfield was controlling possession and goal-scoring opportunities – Kentwood found its saving grace: a Keegan Crook and Brandyn Bangsund connection.
Crook, standing just inside the 18-yard box on the throw in, found the head of Bangsund at the 6-yard box, who managed to slip in the game-winning goal just above the outreached hands of Garfield keeper Cameron Hazzard.
Gig Harbor beat Issaquah, 1-0, on Tuesday and will meet Kentwood in the second round.
The Conquerors had another goal off a throw-in and header in the 49th minute, but it was called off as Mason Rudolph went over the back of a Garfield defender.
“I liked our chances if we got our runs correct,” Kentwood coach Aaron Radford said of getting another chance at a header. “Getting the goal called back, I thought it was a little
tight. There was some body contact, but from my perspective I didn’t see an outright push.
“I did think we were presenting ourselves with good chances. To get those throws, you have to work hard to create opportunities to make those throws happen. We just got ourselves a couple of good opportunities.”
The Conquerors nearly got another goal in the waning minutes of the game.
With a direct ball downfield catching the Garfield defense flat-footed, Kentwood’s Garrett Rudolph couldn’t capitalize on a one-on-one against Hazzard before being brought down by the senior goalkeeper. Hazzard received a red card, but Rudolph couldn’t slide his penalty kick by replacement goalie Lucas Garcia.
Although Kentwood pulled out the victory, lower-seeded Garfield played better much of the game.
With 21 seniors and Abdi Abdulahi creating havoc all over the field with his quickness and technical ball handling, the Bulldogs had several shots go just over the bar before finally allowing Kentwood to capitalize.