Facing a Wenatchee team whose journey through the state soccer tournament was plagued by adversity, it was Tahoma that ultimately ran out of luck as they were shut out, 1-0, in Saturday’s Class 4A championship game.
Less than 24 hours after taking down two-time defending champion Snohomish in the semifinals, Tahoma’s stalwart offense, which had outscored opponents 69-18 this year, lacked the stamina needed to win at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.
“We were fatigued and I think were fighting it the entire time,” said Tahoma coach Jason Johnson. “We had no legs.”
The Panthers started the state tournament stranded on I-90 when their bus broke down, had their quarterfinal game delayed by lightning, lost leading scorer Luis Navarette to a broken leg in Friday’s semifinal — and ended up with their first boys soccer title in school history.
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Senior forward Miguel Viramontes said his game-winning header in the 33rd minute was his first of the season. Senior midfielder Salvador Chavez assisted his goal off a free kick from about 30 yards out.
“I’m not the type of guy who scores headers,” Viramontes said, wiping away tears. “It was a moment of ‘How did that even go in?’ ”
Wenatchee nearly increased its lead to 2-0 in the 40th when junior defender Matt Springer executed a dazzling flip throw from the left sideline that sailed past a gaggle of players and into the box. But the ball went in untouched and was ruled not a goal.
Tahoma’s best opportunity to score came in the 18th, as freshman midfielder Robby Guyer’s straight-on shot from about 20 yards out sailed high.
Tahoma junior forward Cris Garfias said that the effects of the game against Snohomish were evident early.
“I couldn’t get my legs going,” he said. “It took me a while, and then I started cramping.”
Johnson said Wenatchee seemed far more rested after its semifinal win over Central Valley.
“We couldn’t get the ball down because it was at their feet,” he said. “It felt like they had about two more guys on the field because of how fresh they were.”
Panthers senior goalkeeper Raphael Jimenez had two saves in the shutout, during which Wenatchee outshot Tahoma 14-10.
After losing to Mercer Island three times this season, Interlake finally prevailed to successfully defend its Class 3A state title with a 1-0 shutout in Puyallup.
Senior forward Austin Ball, who scored on a counterattack goal, said that they knew they could beat Mercer Island, especially after their prior match — for the KingCo League title — ended in penalty kicks.
“No one else has really challenged them in the state, so we knew if someone was going to beat them, it was going to be us.”
Ball’s breakway up the left side resulted in a 13-yard shot past Mercer Island goalie Matt Leprowse in the 16th minute.
Mercer Island outshot Interlake, 19-3, but Saints junior goalkeeper Sam Dawson made seven saves, five in the first half.