Up until Monday night, the Peninsula High boys soccer team had yet to feel the sting of defeat this season.
That changed when the Sumner Spartans came to town. Junior midfielder Nicholas Phillips scored the match’s lone goal late in the first half, and the Spartans made it stand in a 1-0 win Monday night at Roy Anderson Field.
"We just didn’t play," Peninsula coach Brad Scandrett said. "We can’t win a game when we wait 70 minutes to decide to play. That’s what it comes down to. But losses are going to come."
Losing isn’t a flavor Scandrett wants his team to get accustomed to tasting.
"(My message was) to soak it in, feel it, and then vomit it out," Scandrett said. "We don’t want that feeling again. Especially when we played like we played, which was awful. Losses come. My message was to feel this. Feel the weight of this loss, and then don’t ever feel it again, because we’re a better team than how we played tonight. That’s the reality of what it came down to."
While Peninsula was able to generate some chances, the Seahawks struggled to get shots on frame, missing wide or often high.
"When you don’t play well an entire game, those don’t come," Scandrett said. "If you play well and battle, those chances come; they go in the back of the net. We didn’t decide to play until the game was almost over. This is the exact same way we played them last time. We just didn’t play well."
For Peninsula (10-1-0 overall, 8-1-0 SPSL 3A), hopes of a perfect season were dashed. But the Seahawks still sit atop the SPSL 3A, and will have a chance to bounce back at Bonney Lake on Wednesday (April 22).
Phillips’ goal in the 38th minute was a low, laser strike — an open look generated by some good passing from his teammates.
"It really just came through our forwards, Jordan Butler and Drew (Wehmer) leaking up, and then just dropping it back for a nice, easy shot," Phillips said of his goal. "They made it pretty easy for me."
Sumner (6-5-0 overall, 5-4-0 SPSL 3A) controlled the game throughout, limiting Peninsula’s chances with strong defense.
Sumner coach Peter Voiles gives out a golden construction hard hat after every game to a deserving player, and gave it Monday to sophomore center back Owen Leenstra for his efforts.
"I thought for the most part, our back line did a great job of defending the set pieces we had to continue to defend, and just their endless free kicks into the box," Voiles said. "They’re very good at that… I think (Leenstra) really dug down and got us a result today. I thought (our defenders) did a good job of dealing with the stuff that had to deal with."
The Spartans have dealt with lots of injuries this season, and Voiles believes the team is better than its record indicates.
"We really pride ourselves, as a program, on being a better second half team, regardless of having injuries," Voiles said. "That’s really our mentality."