Ty Johnson knows his Olympia High School boys soccer team accomplished something well beyond the norm Saturday when it defeated top-seeded Camas in a shootout to claim the Bears first Class 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict championship.
“No one ever expects a 4-10-2 team to take over the No. 1 seed and win districts,” Johnson said, after Olympia won its fourth consecutive game, three in the playoffs, to improve to 7-10-2. “The best teams in the state are out of this district and for us to be the No. 1 seed going into state, I’m speechless.”
The Bears host Mariner of Everett in the first round of state at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Ingersoll Stadium.
Olympia struck first on a penalty kick by Khalil Bredeson in the 69th minute after freshman Adam Rapacz was taken down in the box.
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Seven minutes later, Camas (12-2-3) was awarded a PK and, foreshadowing what he would do in the shootout, Bears goalkeeper Mateo Delguidice knocked down Danny Wing’s shot. But Wing headed a follow shot into the net to force overtime.
Both Johnson and Delguidice say they believe Olympia’s seasonlong motivation has helped fuel its playoff run, sparking its shootout success.
“These boys are playing for Austin Kelly right now, our season is dedicated to him,” Johnson said of his former assistant coach, who died last summer.
Conventional wisdom has been that the return of several injured and suspended players has made Olympia a better team, but Delguidice minimized that factor.
“It was our will to play that made us get here and not injured players coming back,” he said. “Our players are motivated now. We’re playing for Austin.”
In the overtime, Delguidice made two saves, one an athletic one-handed dive to thwart Erik Brainard’s attempt. Another Camas shot sailed over the crossbar.
Bredeson, Dewit Kiley, Rapacz and Julian Desmond scored the shootout PKs for the Bears.
“I’ve been taught for years how to stop PKs, you read the shooter’s body language and go with whatever your best guess is,” Delguidice said. “This time I guessed right.”
Johnson appreciated it.
“All you can ask of your keeper in a shootout is to make one save and he made three,” the coach said. “I don’t know all the rest of the keepers in the state, but I think we’ve got the best one.”