The Puyallup High boys soccer team’s streak of 18 regular-season victories came to an end Saturday night after Skyline held on in a 1-0 shutout at Sparks Stadium.
It was a tight game for the Vikings as they looked to extend their year-long regular season winning streak against Skyline in a Class 4A SPSL-KingCo non-league match.
Entering Saturday match, Puyallup held an impressive 18-0-4 regular-season run, including a perfect season last year. The only loss over that span was Puyallup’s 3-0 loss to Inglemoor in the opening round of the 4A state playoffs.
But in the 21st minute, a corner kick by Skyline led to a scrum in the box. The piles of bodies became too much for Puyallup keeper Owen Ebner and the Puyallup backline as Skyline jumped out to a 1-0 lead.
That proved to be enough as the Spartans held on to end the Vikings’ run.
“(Skyline) just tattooed the ball,” Puyallup coach Matt White said. “They played a game of up-back-through, and just hammered the ball as hard as they could. They pressed that ball as hard as they could, and sent numbers at it.”
The loss drops Puyallup to 5-1 overall, with a 2-0 league record. Skyline moved to 3-1-1 with the win.
Despite the loss, the defense proved to be the Vikings’ strength, anchored by captains Levi Woolley and Sam Ebner.
Last season, Puyallup set the record for goals allowed during the regular season (4), and set a record for shutouts with 11. Including the playoffs, Puyallup allowed just eight goals on the season.
“It’s fantastic and there’s really nothing much else to say about it,” Ebner said of his team’s 18-game winning streak. “Last year we went (11 games) without (allowing) a goal — I don’t even know what to say about it. That’s just crazy.”
This year it’s been more of the same, as Skyline’s goal was only the third one the Vikings surrendered this year while scoring 16 of their own (plus-13 goal differential). It’s no wonder these Vikings take pride in low-scoring, hard-fought games, whether they go in their favor or not.
“We pride on ourselves on the defensive structure, and winning every battle when the ball’s in the air,” Woolley said.
So against Emerald Ridge (1-5, 0-2) on Wednesday (March 30) , the Vikings feel they are primed to make another run and string together a streak of victories.
“We’ll move on, we’ll learn from it,” Woolley said. “We can take what we learned from here, and I know our coaches will know exactly what to do when we meet (Skyline) again.”