POULSBO — Jakob Racimo can put on quite a show in goal, as well as after a win.
Fans who know the Capital High School soccer team well have become familiar with the senior goalkeeper’s post-victory tradition. Racimo does a backflip to acknowledge the Capital faithful in the stands.
“It’s so much fun,” Racimo said.
Never before has his backflip felt this good. Racimo was a difference-maker in the Cougars’ 1-0 win over Kingston during Friday night’s Class 2A state quarterfinal match at North Kitsap Stadium.
Capital (20-2) will play in the state semifinals for the first time since placing fourth as a Class 3A program in 2010.
Racimo chose to turn back out for soccer after taking last spring off to focus on football, and now the Cougars are guaranteed a top-four finish next weekend at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner. They will play Sedro-Woolley, a 3-2 overtime winner over Archbishop Murphy, at 8 p.m. Friday in the second 2A semifinal. The Cougars didn’t advance beyond the first round in 2012 or 2013.
“This is an amazing atmosphere right now,” said Racimo, who finished with seven saves.
Racimo made one clutch save after another, particularly in the final 30 minutes and in stoppage time, when Kingston’s offense increased its attack while frantically looking for the tying goal.
In a 90-second span during stoppage time, Racimo drove to his left and soared high for two crucial saves as white Kingston jerseys surrounded the goal.
Kingston (18-3) entered Friday with 13 shutouts in 22 games, only to be shut out for the first time this spring.
First-year Capital coach Andrew Lopez says Racimo, the 2A Evergreen Conference’s defensive player of the year, helps maintain the team’s consistency level.
“Anytime we’ve needed him, he’s been there,” Lopez said.
With both teams scoreless just before halftime, Capital senior forward Marco Lucero was in the perfect spot for a goal off a deflection from Kingston goalkeeper Alexander Worland in the 38th minute.
But the Cougars’ strength continues to be their defense. Since losing to Hockinson, 3-2 in overtime during the district semifinals, the Cougars have outscored their past four opponents 8-0, including back-to-back 1-0 victories in the state tournament.
Though Capital had fewer offensive opportunities than Kingston, the Cougars made fewer mistakes, which Racimo says has been key during their four-game shutout streak.
“This is what happens when we don’t (make mistakes),” Racimo said. “We get the big-time wins, even in close games like this.”