Timberline High School boys soccer coach Mark Tate isn’t one to commit long term to a single system of play.
“We like to mix it up depending upon who we’re playing,” he said.
Tuesday night at Yelm, the Blazers switched from the 4-5-1 they’d played in season-opening losses to North Thurston and Bellarmine Prep to a 4-4-2.
The change paid off.
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Matt Lamfers, moved from an outside defender position to a striker’s spot, sprinted up the right side to take a pass from Ethan Dellecese and score into the left corner of the net with three minutes to play as Timberline (1-2, 1-1 in 4A Narrows) handed the Tornados (3-1, 0-1) their first loss of the season, 2-1.
“Getting our first win is huge for us. We’ve played a couple of tough teams and Yelm hadn’t lost,” Tate said.
Timberline scored its first goal 11 minutes before halftime when Edgard Bautista’s shot caromed off the left post and Dellecese converted the rebound into a goal into the middle of the net.
The Blazers’ halftime lead could have been bigger.
Twelve minutes into the game, Alex Amado drilled a shot off the post but Timberline couldn’t put away the rebound. In the 36th minute, Yelm defender Hayden Duncan came to the assistance of goalkeeper Kevin Wright with a foot save on the goal line.
“We were unlucky on a couple of chances and their defense came up big a few times,” Tate said.
Just after halftime the teams traded misses over the crossbar from short range before Yelm tied it, 1-1. Timberline keeper Jalen Bush repelled a short, hard shot by Alex Jiminez, but the Tornados’ Michael Garcia knocked in the rebound.
After Lamfers’ late goal for Timberline, Yelm did create a moment of excitement when Noah Prokopowicz got free and unleashed a potential game-tying shot — but Bush was able to make the save.
For the game, Timberline held a slight edge in shots attempted, 10-9, and a wide lead in corner kicks, 4-1.
“I thought it looked a lot better today,” Tate said, looking ahead to a game at Ingersoll Stadium against Olympia on Friday. “That’s a program I don’t think Timberline has ever beaten, so we know it won’t be easy.”
Tahoma 2, at Olympia 0: With starters Neil Boyal and Mitchell Nee both absent from the lineup, the Bears couldn’t adjust quickly enough to keep Tahoma at bay.
Robby Guyer struck twice, in the eighth and 15th minutes, as Tahoma locked up the win at Ingersoll Stadium.
Olympia eventually settled and shut Tahoma out in the second half, but couldn’t find an answer offensively.
Three of Tahoma’s four games so far this season have been shutouts. Tahoma (4-0) remains undefeated while Olympia drops to 1-1-1 to start the season.
Staff writer Lauren Smith contributed to this report.