A couple defensive lapses and an inability to put the ball in the back of the net cost the Peninsula High boys soccer team a chance to move on in the Class 3A West Central District playoffs against Shelton on Thursday evening at Auburn Mountainview High School in a 2-0 loss.
It was a microcosm of the second half of the season for the Seahawks.
After getting off to a 10-0 start, Peninsula dropped five out of its last six regular season games.
“We couldn’t finish the whole game, which has been a trend towards the end of the season,” said sophomore midfielder Mason Haubrich, a first-team all SPSL 3A selection. “I think that’s what ultimately caused it.”
The pressure of sudden expectations may have caught up with the team, Haubrich admitted.
“In the beginning, we didn’t feel too much pressure because we didn’t do that well last year,” he said. “When the second half of the season came, we felt the pressure and I guess it was too much.”
Senior forward Logan Marten was nearly at a loss for words after watching the team’s late-season slide come to its climax in the loss to Shelton.
“It’s been the same thing for the whole second half of our season,” Marten said. “In the end, it just comes down to putting the ball into the back of the net and we just didn’t finish our chances this game.”
Peninsula (11-6) controlled possession for most of the game, but weren’t able to break through Shelton’s defense.
“I thought we had an amazing game; we just didn’t capitalize,” Marten said. “All the runs were there, the shots were there, they were on target. We just couldn’t get them in the back of the net. We totally dominated this game. We were in their half most of the time. We just gave away two mistakes in the beginning.”
It was an up-and-down year for first-year coach Brad Scandrett, who was left a bit puzzled after the Seahawks were sent home on Thursday.
“We killed ourselves most of those last six losses,” he said. “We beat ourselves. … It’s hard to be up top. It’s hard to know how to maintain winning. We’re young. I think our seniors played like they were seniors all season. We have a mixture of guys that are young and we’re just not quite there. We had the magic the first 11 games and we lost it. We’ve got to go home and get it back. A lot of it is mental.”
Despite the loss, Marten said he was proud of the team’s progress and enjoyed being a part of the early-season magic.
“It’s been the greatest pleasure to play with this team,” Marten said. “I’ve learned so much as a soccer player and as a man, going out into the real world. I’ve learned skills that’ll get me through life, and it’s something that I’ll really miss but use all the time. I’m never going to forget this team.”