How nice is this Puyallup High School four-peat?
“I don’t know if our kids can even count to four – that’s hard for them,” Puyallup soccer coach Matt White said with a smile.
But here the Vikings are, a senior class that only knows of 4A South Puget Sound League titles after they shut out Sumner for a 1-0 win on Saturday at Sparks Stadium to clinch it.
Puyallup (12-2-1, 37 points) clinched it with a match to spare.
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“It was really relieving because it’s been such a hard year,” said Puyallup midfielder Brayan Torres, who scored the match’s lone goal in the fifth minute. “We were able to work hard and work together to pull it off.
“So we’re relieved, but also excited.”
This was the toughest year yet for Puyallup.
It had to beat Sumner (11-3-2, 35 points) from the 3A SPSL. And the league added the largest public school in the state (South Kitsap), according to WIAA enrollment figures, the largest private school in the state (Bellarmine Prep) and the largest school in Thurston County (Olympia) with all coming from the 4A Narrows.
But the 4A SPSL – this has belonged to Puyallup.
“Our seniors don’t know anything but a league championship,” White said. “That’s all they know is, ‘Of course, why wouldn’t we do this?’
“Whenever you do well and have continuous success, people think it comes easy. But I’m so proud of the kids who buy in to what we do. Here we are continuing to work hard and continuing to improve. That says a lot about our kids.”
Torres knocked in his sixth goal of the season off of an assist from Ethan Carlson on a set play with Kasch Johnson throwing in. Carlson now has 10 goals and 10 assists.
And Puyallup had to hold off relentless pressure from Sumner the rest of the way. White praised his defenders, Nico LoGerfo, Waki LoGerfo, Tyler Brown, Eli Visser and Logan Oyama.
“Logan Oyama absolutely owned the midfield and did a great job on some great players,” White said.
And this was despite Puyallup missing reigning 4A SPSL defensive player of the year Sam Ebner, who broke his foot the first match of the season.
Sumner was coming off a 3-0 win against Emerald Ridge on Friday after its Thursday match with the Jaguars was rescheduled because of lighting. So the Spartans had a short turnaround.
But Sumner set itself up to win the league title when it beat Bellarmine Prep on April 28 and followed a week later with the win over Emerald Ridge – the only two teams that have beat Puyallup this year.
Now both schools get to focus on the 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict tournament. Puyallup plays a loser-out, winner-to-state match at 7:30 p.m. Thursday against an opponent yet to be determined.
Sumner earns the No. 3 seed from the SPSL if Bellarmine beats Puyallup on Monday. If Puyallup wins, it is the No. 3 seed.
Four consecutive league titles is one thing. But Puyallup has made the state tournament five consecutive years and have lost in the first round each of the past four.
“I’m excited to see how we do,” Torres said.