Fourth-year Peninsula High School boys soccer coach Brad Scandrett has believed in his team for quite a few years now. But it’s taken this group of seniors, a group Scandrett has coached since his first season when they were all freshmen, a little longer to come around to his way of thinking.
“I’ve believed in them throughout the season,” Scandrett said. “I believed it last year and the year before, but they didn’t believe it. I think now they’re believing that ‘Hey, we can play and we can hang with anybody.’ So it’s fun to watch them live into that reality.”
Whether it’s been an inner belief that has fueled Peninsula’s success this season, or simply the maturity of a veteran, upperclassmen-laden squad, Peninsula certainly looked the part of a program that has found its footing on Saturday evening at Mount Tahoma High School.
Peninsula controlled its West Central III/Southwest bidistrict against the Mount Tahoma Thunderbirds from the start, ultimately coming away with a 3-0 win and feeling good about its chances in the upcoming Class 3A state tournament.
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Peninsula (11-2-2 overall) kicked off the scoring in the 30th minute, when senior Luis Cornelio found a ball drop back to him and slotted it into the net.
“I saw (senior midfielder and 3A South Sound Conference co-MVP) Mason (Haubrich) look for a shot, and it just hit off him,” Cornelio said. “I just followed it and shot it.”
Simple enough. The second goal came in similarly simple fashion, when junior midfielder Ben Patterson softly tapped in off a perfect cross in the 52nd minute to give the Seahawks a 2-0 lead. For Scandrett, converting those easy opportunities has been a point of emphasis.
“The boys get mad at me because I call them free throws, because they’re gimmes,” Scandrett said. “We’ve got to make the free throws. We put away some free throws. I’m proud of them.”
Haubrich capped off the scoring with a splendid free kick in the 80th minute, showing why he was voted as the league’s best player by the coaches.
“That was a great shot,” Scandrett said.
Despite the score line, Mount Tahoma (9-6-1) didn’t make life easy for Peninsula, playing with a scrappy style and a high level of intensity. But Peninsula was able to wear the T-Birds down over the course of the game.
“It just took heart and belief in each other,” Cornelio said. “We just worked hard. All our team was inspired with our coach talking. We struggled in the first half, but came out stronger in the second half and believed in each other.”
And now Peninsula will play in the state tournament, a fine reward for a fantastic season.
“We’re going to keep playing hard,” Cornelio said. “It’s going to be tough at state but we’re just going to push through and hopefully we go out with a (win).”