Good size on the front line and a wealth of team speed has the Sumner High boys soccer team poised to surge to the top of the 3A South Puget Sound League this year.
After Sumner (1-0-1) blew past Class 1A foe Cascade Christian, 3-0 on March 17, coach Peter Voiles felt like his Spartans are ready for league action thanks to speed on the outside and Sumner’s big bodies up front, Christian Fisher and Nicholas Phillips.
“It was a good performance as I thought our energy was stronger in the second half,” Voiles said after the win. “It was nice to get every player with a lot of minutes today.”
The game against Cascade Christian (0-3) went about how Voiles could hope it could go, as the Spartans’ high-pressure attack kept the ball on their opponent’s side of the pitch and forced the Cougars to backpedal often.
Coach told us that we weren’t playing our game out there, and that we needed to keep the pressure on.
Sumner scored quickly off Phillips’ goal within the game’s first 10 minutes, but after being stifled by the Casacade Christian defense, the Spartans went into halftime with a 1-0 lead and six shots on goal compared to the Cougars’ two shots.
“I was set up from the outside and tapped it in,” Phillips said.
At the half, Voiles laid into his squad.
“Coach told us that we weren’t playing our game out there, and that we needed to keep the pressure on,” Fisher said. “We had to pick it up in the second half and play the game through.”
Keen words from a veteran coach, as the Sumner team that came out of the half was the one the Spartans hope to field come the start of league play Wednesday when the Spartans travel to face Peninsula (1-0) at Roy Anderson Field.
We just needed tempo and more control in the second half. I think we did good playing from the wides and crossing it in.
senior Nicholas Phillips
Right from the gate, Sumner took control of the game, beating Cascade Christian with first-touch chances to keep the ball on the Cougars’ half. After a strong clearance by senior defender Peyton Berry, Spartan midfielder Jordan Butler intercepted the 50-50 chance and knocked a through-ball ahead of Fisher down the right side of the pitch.
Fifty-five minutes into the game, Fisher outdribbled Berry to the box, where the 6-foot-1 forward blasted a shot to the top right of the goal to give Sumner a 2-0 lead.
“It was getting over that wall, as our team needed (the score),” Fisher said. “We got chewed out at halftime because our work-rate wasn’t there to begin with. Getting that second goal kind of got us over that barrier where we can relax and play more as a team.”
With little action in the second half, Cascade Christian was able to fight back against Sumner at the 60-minute mark.
After holding the ball near Sumner’s goal, a loose ball shot out down the left side of the pitch resulted in Armani Atherton picking up the dribble on the fly, soaring by defenders down the pitch and putting the game away at 3-0.
“We just needed tempo and more control in the second half,” Phillips said. “I think we did good playing from the wides and crossing it in.”
And what did the speed of the Spartans demonstrate in the win?
“I think our speed with be key for us going into league this season. That goal was a result of what we want to get from our outside guys,” Voiles said. “We want our speed to play when we need it to.”
Sumner started its league season Wednesday against Peninsula, and the Spartans will close out the week hosting Auburn Riverside (1-0) on Friday (March 25) at Sunset Chev Stadium.