Whenever a team can get a goal scored by a freshman, that’s a good thing.
But when the freshman’s goal comes late in the game to pick up the win, that’s even better.
That’s what happened in the 59th minute when Puyallup midfielder Ethan Carlson launched a loose ball inside Sumner’s box to score the game’s only goal and give the Vikings a 1-0 shutout win Saturday night at Sunset Chev Stadium.
“I just saw the ball roll and put my foot to it,” said Carlson of the shot. “It’s a good feeling to get the game winner.”
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After Sumner’s second-half goalie Max Mahaffey knocked away a few attempts in the scrum, the ball trickled away from him and toward Carlson in the left of the box. The freshman shot a low grounder across the box and found the net in the bottom right of the corner.
“It’s nice to see a goal by a freshman as it’s always exciting,” Puyallup coach Matt White said.
For most of the game, Puyallup (1-0-2) was kept off the board by Sumner’s goalkeeping duo of Sam Jacobsen and Mahaffey.
But it was the keeper on the Vikings’ end that proved too insurmountable as senior Jake Johnston became a wall for Puyallup.
Sumner (1-1) had two chances to tie the game after Puyallup took the lead. Both came off the foot of midfielder Jordan Butler. With ten minutes left in the game, Johnston showed his reflexes as the senior knocked a Butler 25-yard missile of a free kick over the goal.
“We’ve been very blessed to have keeps who are composed people,” White said. “Composed keepers — it just gives confidence to your back line, it gives confidence to your team that ‘No, no. I got this.’”
Butler had one last free kick attempt to tie the game in the 74th minute. After the Sumner junior launched the shot, a Puyallup defender deflected the shot enough to force it to hit the right post and allow Johnston to grab the save to earn the shutout.
Sumner came into the game limping as the Spartans’ starting midfield line was all out due to injuries from Friday night’s 2-0 win over Toppenish. With unfamiliarity in the midfield, it forced Sumner coach Peter Voiles to plan a much more conservative game than he’s used to.
“We started a completely different midfield line today — all three guys who (started) last night got injured,” Voiles said. “We had to change shape … formation, and we just had different guys in different spots.”
Not being able to play more than a single forward in attack, Sumner gave up possession too often and allowed Puyallup to control the game.
“We couldn’t get the ball up front and hold onto to the ball,” Voiles said. “When we did, that’s when our actual chances came.”