It’s been years in the making for Curtis, waiting for this moment.
For the past four seasons, the Puyallup boys soccer team has dominated the 4A South Puget Sound League South Division; often it was Curtis which was dealt one heavy blow after another when facing its league rival.
But after a late collision in Puyallup’s penalty area, Curtis was able to level the game , 1-1, as time was running out between a meeting of the 4A South Puget Sound League South Division top teams.
In the 78th-minute, Finn Pape took a set piece roughly 40 yards out and crossed it into Puyallup’s box. A collision between Bailey Cross and Puyallup defenders brought the game to a 1-1 tie.
“Puyallup’s a great team,” Curtis coach Frank Hankle said. “We had an idea coming in that this was going to be scrappy — it was going to be a tough fight (and) we got what we expected.”
Puyallup moved to 6-1-1 and will remain in the top spot in the South with a 3-0-1 league record. Curtis moves to 6-0-2, 3-0-2 in league play.
The goal was Curtis’ first against Puyallup’s stingy defense over the last five matchups.
Even with the late-game hiccup ending Puyallup’s scoreless streak, none of that mattered as Puyallup kept pace for its fifth consecutive South Division title.
“It doesn’t matter,” Puyallup coach Matt White said of the scoreless streak being snapped. “We were able to do the things we wanted coming into the game, but a ball bounces off our guy and it ends the way it did.”
After having three corner kicks and two free kicks sent away by Curtis’ defense, Puyallup decided to dive into its bag of tricks on their eighth set-piece attempt in the 38th minute.
Setting up with four players for the kick, one-by-one, three of players ran over the ball confusing Curtis’ defense and leaving Puyallup midfielder Brayan Torres alone to drill the 28-yard cross.
One bounce is all Kasch Johnson needed to put in the first goal and give Puyallup a 1-0 lead before the half.
“I made a last-second adjustment as I was in the middle of my kick,” Torres said. “I saw a shot at our man deeper in the box, and I just kicked it as hard as I could to get it to him.”