With a chance to gain some valuable points in a showdown against first-place Puyallup, Curtis was unable to hold off the offensive pressure, falling 3-1 at home on April 13 in the battle of Viking squads.
“Puyallup has a lot of momentum right now. They have a really good record and a good team,” said Curtis assistant coach Matt Anderson. “We just didn’t bring it tonight. You’ve always got to bring it at home, and we didn’t.”
Curtis hung with Puyallup early on, but defender Marcus Wilson slipped past the Vikings’ defense in the 15th minute and drove a low shot off the right post to give Puyallup a 1-0 lead. The Vikings settled down, controlling the ball in their offensive attack and giving Braden Jacobsen a good look in the 27th minute, but his shot from 20 yards out sailed high and right.
Puyallup’s Andy Jeppesen missed a golden opportunity two minutes later on a point blank shot, but redeemed himself in the 36th minute, running down a chip pass from Christian Rath and drving it into an empty net for a 2-0 lead. Curtis escaped further damage when Puyallup’s Cesar Valdez moved around the defense and had an open shot with five seconds left in the half, but it was saved by keeper Carter Shireff.
“We played well the first 10 to 15 minutes and kept knocking on Puyallup’s door and couldn’t put one away,” Anderson said. “That’s been an Achilles heel. You keep trying to score and score and don’t get it, and then they score, and you really drop. We didn’t bounce back from that really well.”
Despite more solid offensive looks by Curtis early in the second half, it was Rath that put the game away for Puyallup in the 59th minute, switching from his right to left foot and driving a shot into the far post for a 3-0 lead.
Curtis finally got on the board in the 72nd minute, as senior Tre Rose sent a beautiful cross from the right side, and Andrew Ecklund drove in a header to cut it to 3-1 – his first goal of the season.
“It was a very good ball,” Anderson said. “Andrew’s a great kid, he has a great attitude. He works hard every time, and it’s good that he finally got a goal, and a quality goal.”
With a playoff spot still well within the Vikings’ grasp, Anderson said the team must not look too far forward.
“We’ve got to focus on the next game and only focus on that. We can’t look to the next three weeks, to the postseason…we’re going to keep working, you’re never going to quit at Curtis.”