The Todd Beamer High School boys soccer team entered this night ranked eighth in the state and riding a six-game win streak. The Titans believe they have a real shot to go deep in the state playoffs despite not even making the district playoffs last year.
They showed why on Tuesday night, shutting down league rival Auburn Riverside, 2-0.
The growth of sophomore goalkeeper Brandon Locke is just one of the many reasons the Titans (11-1-1) are on top of the 4A North Puget Sound League Olympic division standings and all but assured a league title with two games remaining on the schedule.
"My defense just locked it down," Locke said. "This win just made us feel even more confident that we’re one step closer to winning state, and getting to state. It just gave us that extra boost to have more energy and fight to keep going."
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An early goal from Zak Gregg proved to be the only offense the Titans needed as Locke stood tall in between the goalposts making several key saves in the second half
"I think I’ve grown from being more vocal, from my team listening to me, and feeling more stronger and bigger in the box," Locke said. He also said his footwork has improved to making him quicker to the ball.
With 20 minutes left in the second half, Locke used both hands to tip a shot off of a free kick over the crossbar.
A couple minutes later Locke came up big again when Ravens midfielder Keegan Dolan, who once played for the Sounders Academy, found space in the middle of the box and drilled a shot toward the corner of the net.
Locke leaped in front of the shot, clutching the ball to his chest for the save.
And with 3:30 left Locke stymied yet another dangerous attack from the Ravens when he pulled down a high arcing pass attempt rom midfield.
"They (the defense) played solid all night," Titans coach Joel Lindberg said. "Auburn Riverside has a really fast and tough attack and our defense held up. I’m really proud of my outside backs for covering speed, my center backs for stepping so well and my goalie for winning everything he goes for."
The Titans got a big boost three minutes into the game when Mark Filimonov beat goalkeeper Andy Starkel to the ball and tapped it over to Gregg who guided the ball into a wide-open net.
Midway through the second half Gregg found Filimonov on a similar play for the Titans second goal.
"I think we played quality soccer tonight and Todd Beamer is a good team so I really enjoyed watching both sides," Ravens head coach Robyn Saarenas said. "I think there were times in that game when we dominated. Todd Beamer did a nice job on capitalizing on their opportunities and we didn’t."
The loss was the second in a row for Auburn Riverside (8-2-4), which lost to Auburn Mountainview (9-3-2) on Friday.
Beamer’s only loss this season was to Decatur in the third match of the season and its only tie was in its first meeting against Auburn Riverside, 0-0, on March 31.
The Titans have reeled off seven consecutive victories — including rematch wins over Decatur and now Auburn Riverside.
They next face Auburn Mountainview at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.