Bellarmine Prep coach Joe Waters approached each of his players, one by one, shook their hands and told them, “Thank you.”
Jordan Williams gave the Lions life with a goal in the 78th minute and had a last header saved near the left post in the final seconds of stoppage time.
But the Skyline boys soccer team’s damage had already been done, eliminating state-title hopeful Bellarmine with a 2-1 victory on Tuesday at Skyline High School in the first round of the 4A state tournament.
“A couple of things you have to realize,” Waters told his teary-eyed players in their final huddle of the season. “Once this wears off, and it will wear off, you were the last Narrows League champions, you won it by a country mile. … There are a lot of good things that came out of this season. This game does not define us as a team.”
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That’s two consecutive postseason victories for Skyline coach Don Braman over Waters. The last one came with both coaching their schools’ girls soccer teams in the 2011 state championship match, which Skyline won, 1-0.
“I was happy to play here (at Skyline) and not on that skinny little field (at Bellarmine),” Braman said. “Any time I get a chance to face Joe, I know we are going to face a well-coached and organized team and we are going to have to play well — and we did that tonight.”
Bellarmine wanted to strike early.
It controlled possession the first 10 minutes but didn’t get any clean looks.
Skyline found the back of the net in the 28th. Daniel Luis Miller was isolated one-on-one past the right hash mark and stabbed a cross that found Mason Prendergast for a header just left of the goal.
“So measured. That’s (Miller) looking up, seeing where Mason is and picking him out,” Braman said. “That was perfect.”
Skyline added its second goal in the 58th when Ty Good’s corner kick found Fed Rubiolo for the header into the back right corner of the goal.
“I think they did what we had hoped to do,” Waters said. “They imposed their game on us from the beginning, and we just weren’t able to settle and play the way that we wanted to play.
“Those were two great headers. You hold your head up and say, ‘Hey, well done.’ It happens. We’ve done that to enough teams.”
Bellarmine (14-2-1) looked all but done until Williams punched in his 22nd goal of the season in that 78th minute.
“You are just trying to do whatever you can to save the game, trying to take it to overtime,” Williams said. “But a little too late there.”
He thought his last header might have a chance.
“I was hoping the keeper would split over to me,” Williams said.
At Pasco 4, Mount Rainier 0: Kevin Meraz-Rodriguez scored the first goal, and Jesus Meraz-Rodriguez got the next two.
And that was all in the first 15 minutes.
That scoring barrage ended Mount Rainier’s season in the first round of the 4A state tournament for the second consecutive season as Pasco moves on to face Central Valley in the quarterfinals.
Mount Rainier (9-8-3) clinched its state berth with an overtime win over Curtis last week. It lost in the first round of state to Snohomish last season.
Pasco (17-2) has won seven of its past eight matches, with its lone loss in that span coming 1-0 against Lewis and Clark, which plays Puyallup at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Spokane Falls Community College.