Facing a chance to grab a key league win in the wide open Narrows 3A halfway through the season, neither Foss nor Lincoln could separate themselves, as both teams struck late in the first half to settle for a 1-1 draw on April 19.
“They played well, I’m pleased with their output,” said Foss head coach Mark Kramer of his squad. “It was their first really consistent game from start to finish.”
In a back-and-forth first half, it was Lincoln that got the first good look in the 26th minute, when Jose Zuniga’s corner went right to the foot of Christian Trujillo, whose shot into the right post was cleared by defender Darren Yan.
“It’s just a matter of inches and getting that finish, we’re just lacking that one goal to put us over the top,” said Abes head coach Monte Gibbs.
The Falcons struck six minutes later, as defender Abdul-Hadi Jmaileh’s free kick from midfield found an open Jesus Perez in the box, and the freshman forward headed it over Abes keeper Brian Santiago for a 1-0 lead.
“It was spot on, it was really nice,” Kramer said. “It was technically perfect, so I was really happy with it.”
But the Abes responded five minutes later, as Luis Pena-Herrera found Francis Mukoiko with a long through pass, and Mukoiko sent a low shot past keeper Cody Stephenson to tie it.
“If you play it right down the field it’s really hard, but if you get that nice angled ball it’s easier for the runner to run onto,” Gibbs said. “Francis has the speed to get to it and put it in.”
The Abes created several good looks in the second half – highlighted by Pena-Herrera’s header off the crossbar in the 58th minute – but each defense stood strong. The draw puts both squads with one win, two losses and two draws in league play and tied for fourth place – two points behind Timberline.
“That third playoff position, right now it’s anybody’s game,” Gibbs said. “And the biggest thing is consistency – who can consistently perform.”
“Anything’s possible this year,” Kramer added.
By Jeremy Helling
WILSON FALLS TO CAPITAL
With the Narrows 3A title on the line, one would think there would be great end-to-end action and a lot of offensive flow would be involved. Just the opposite took place between Wilson and Capital on April 19, as a close defensive battle was the order of the night. When all was said and done, Capital forward Onan Lopez-Cabrera’s goal in the 75th minute proved decisive as the Cougars defeated the Rams 2-1 to clinch the league title.
“We had several good chances and did not take advantage of them in the first half, and it came back to bite us late in the game,” said Wilson coach Jason Gjertsen of his team’s heartbreaking defeat. This tight defensive battle started off with fireworks for both teams as Capital’s Joey Geraci scored from 10 yards out on a great one-time pass to give the Cougars a quick 1-0 lead. But before the fans could settle back into their seats, Wilson’s Chris Peterson sent a long ball in from just beyond the midfield mark, and it eluded the outstretched hands of Capital keeper Victor Contreras to tie it up. Both teams missed good opportunities midway through the second half, with Capital controlling the midfield and the majority of the offensive flow. The Cougars gave themselves more chances with tight marking done on Peterson, who found little space all night long.
“Their defensive pressure on Chris was key to the win for them,” added Gjertsen.
The winning goal came as a result of a bad clearing pass by the Wilson defense in the box, as Lopez-Cabrera found the back of the net from 15 yards out on the left hand side of the box.
“We’ll have to play better at District,” Gjertsen added.
By Steve Mullen
BELLARMINE OVERCOMES STADIUM LATE
Getting two goals from set plays in the second half – including Andrew Patubo’s goal off a corner with eight minutes remaining – Bellarmine rallied to a 2-1 win over Stadium on April 20 to keep pace with first-place Central Kitsap in the Narrows 4A.
Each team got quality looks in the first half, as Stadium’s Max Harvey mounted the Tigers’ biggest threats early with two point-blank looks at goal midway through the period, but each was stopped by keeper Eric Bottjer. Ryan Quinn then got a look at an open goal in the 38th minute for the Lions, but his shot sailed just right of the post.
“I thought in the first half we had a lot of opportunities that we should have done better with,” said Lions head coach Joe Waters. “We were a bit wasteful in the first half.”
Defender Michael Dick finally got Bellarmine on the board in the 49th minute, taking Kurtis Pederson’s long chip from midfield and driving it into the net for a 1-0 lead.
“We actually worked on our set plays for a long period yesterday, and there were a couple that we tried to use,” Waters said. “That was one of them, so it worked for us tonight.”
“They’ve scored five goals against us, all on set pieces,” said Stadium coach John Baretta. “I’m lost for words.”
The Tigers answered in the 63rd minute when captain Jacob Beardemphl took a pass just outside the box and weaved around two defenders, driving it past Bottjer and into the right post to tie it.
“I think that was a great move from getting it and knowing there was some space,” Baretta said. “It was a brilliant goal.”
Patubo then provided the late heroics after Ryan Quinn headed a corner kick back in front of the goal, where the junior defender was waiting to slot it home.
“In big games like this, set plays are always a huge issue, and the team that executes set plays wins the game,” said Waters.
The Lions sit in second place in the league with 23 points, two points behind Central Kitsap. The Lions and Cougars meet for a showdown at Bellarmine on May 4. Stadium, meanwhile, sits in third place and will look to hold onto a playoff spot in the final weeks.
“Hopefully we’ll have a chance,” Baretta said. “If we make it, then we’ll just have to take it day by day.”
By Jeremy Helling