With an impressive 2-1 victory Friday night over Othello, 2A boys soccer powerhouse Fife is through to the finals against Archbishop Murphy.
Leading the Trojans to glory Friday were the consistent play of senior Mack Smith and the special talent of sophomore Axel Mejia.
Smith, who is heading to play at Division II Saint Martin’s University next year, played a very effective post-up forward for Fife, often finding the space in between the Othello defense and midfield — including on the first goal.
Just 10 minutes into the game, Smith run into that open space to receive a pass from Mejia 25 yards out from goal. As the Othello back line turned to collapse on Smith, the star forward slid the ball on the ground through the flat-footed defense to an oncoming Bryan Flores, who slotted the goal home.
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“He’s so strong of a player that they put people on him and everyone around him is scoring massive amounts of goals,” Fife head coach Tony Crudo said. “He’s not the highest goal scorer, but because of his presence out there and he’s so dangerous, he just sucks people to him and they’re all worried about him.”
Mejia, whose creative flair and dynamic ability were on display from the center midfield spot throughout the contest, found his opportunity in the 68th minute as he got in behind the Othello back line on a ball played in by Efren Monzon.
Once in on goal, Mejia placed his shot on the back post of the goal for what proved to be the winner.
“Ridiculous … he’s a 10th-grader,” Crudo said. “He’s relentless, he has great skill — tremendous talent, and (he’s) a great kid.”
In the 3A semifinal, Auburn Riverside suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Interlake. The winning goal was found, painfully, in the golden goal period.
Riverside had scored with just nine minutes to go in regulation to gain a 2-1 lead; however, the Ravens relinquished what would be their first trip to the state finals by conceding a goal in stoppage time.
In the first minute of extra time, Interlake scored again to win the game, advance to the state finals and end the historic Riverside run.