The Puyallup boys soccer team did almost everything right Wednesday night, but it wasn’t enough to keep their season alive.
“We clearly outplayed them, out-possessed them and outshot them, but couldn’t put it in the net,” Vikings coach Matt White said after a 1-0 loss to Lewis and Clark in a first-round 4A state playoff match at Spokane Falls Community College.
That’s a familiar refrain in soccer, but it goes down harder at the end of a season. While the LC players looked ahead to a home berth in the quarterfinals, White consoled his players at the far corner of the turf.
Added White: “We outshot them by a bazillion.”
Not quite, but the count was 14 to 5 for the game and 10 to 2 during a first half that often resembled a siege. Showing no ill effects from the six-hour bus ride, the Vikings pressed early.
However, an early attach backfired when Lewis and Clark countered. Five minutes into the match, Jackson Moore capped a four-man break with a sharply angled shot from the left side of the box that sailed past Puyallup keeper Owen Ebner and inside the far post.
“That didn’t bother us,” said White, whose squad pushed the attack. Puyallup (12-3-3) forced LC keeper John Zylak into eight saves.
Puyallup had several good chances in the first half. The best was Dane Helle’s blast from 20 yards, which sent Zylak to the turf to smother the ball as it sat on top of the goal line.
A few minutes later, Levi Wooley’s 20-yard blast in the 28th minute resulted in a corner kick. Late in the half, the ball bounced in front of the LC goal for several seconds, with players from both sides flailing before it was cleared.
Mostly, the Vikings took the direct route, ignoring the wings and playing the ball straight into the box. That played into the hands — or head, rather — of LC defender Charlie Rieger, who blunted several dangerous attacks.
“That kid is the heart and soul of that squad,” White said of Rieger.
Puyallup kept up the pressure in the second half, but Zylak nabbed a header from Helle in the 60th minute and punched away a strong shot from Brayan Torres a few minutes later.
Tahoma 1, Kentridge 0: One goal was enough.
It came in the late stages of the first half. Tahoma’s Peyton Trask found the back of the net in the 35th minute off an assist from Christo Mitchell.
“Kentridge played great,” Tahoma coach Jason Johnson said. “They gave us all we could handle. I thought we played really well, we kept calm, we kept our patience. We kept really good possession tonight. We created really good chances, and if we would have put them away earlier, Kentridge wouldn't have built as much confidence as they did. If the game went longer, Kentridge could have snagged a goal at the end.”
Tahoma advances to the 4A state quarterfinals to face Mariner, which edged Union in a shootout Wednesday.
Colin Gage was in goal and got the shutout for the Bears (16-4-0), which beat 4A SPSL Northeast rival Kentridge for the second time this season after a 3-2 win over the Chargers in the regular season finale.
Kentridge (10-7-2) worked hard to tie the game up, but Gage’s efforts kept their shots out of the back of the net.
“Colin Gage played fantastic tonight,” Johnson said. “He had a huge save toward the end of the game and probably played his best game all year.”
Staff writer Christian Bond contributed to this report