Though Meadowdale is headed to the playoffs, the Mavericks still have work to do.
Meadowdale struggled against first-place Glacier Peak, losing 3-0 in a Wesco 3A South Division boys soccer game Friday night at Edmonds Stadium.
“They really outplayed us tonight,” said Meadowdale coach Wade Foley. “They came in here tonight and they just wanted it more than us.”
The Mavericks (7-4 in the league, 8-5-1 overall) already have clinched one of the league’s fourth berths to the district playoffs.
“It’s all about the playoffs,” Foley said. “It doesn’t matter where you finish, if you just finish in the top four. The South Division is really strong this year.”
The Grizzlies (8-1-2, 10-2-2) are a mature team with players who have grown up as teammates, Foley said.
“They always have a good steady group of kids,” he added.
Glacier Peak’s Branson Corwin scored 24 minutes into the game when the Meadowdale defense was unable to clear the ball right in front of the goal.
The Grizzlies’ Connor Seed sent a through ball up to Peter Vizzino and he was in the clear. Just as Vizzino tried to chip a shot over Meadowdale goalkeeper Mark Steinke, Griffin Over got back and blocked the shot over the bar. The resulting corner kick was taken by Vizzino and it bounced around in the goal box before Corwin found it. He easily slid the ball past Steinke to make it 1-0 Grizzlies
“We played really sloppy against their set pieces,” Foley said. “We just weren’t organized. We need to do a better job of that.”
The Mavericks weathered the Glacier Peak blitz and went into halftime down 1-0. Meadowdale seemed more energized at the start of the second half and had some opportunities.
Meadowdale was inches from tying the game in the 42nd minute. Tristan Springer found Austin Panek breaking forward and Panek attempted a shot that a defender deflected. The ball slowed but continued to travel towards the net and Colton Davis, who was following the shot, got a foot on the ball before it got to goalkeeper Lucas MacMillan, but he sent it wide.
The Grizzlies added to their lead in the 64th minute. Riley Prescott got a through ball from a midfielder and started to break for the goal, but as he got into the box, Steinke came out and challenged him. Meadowdale Taylor Linton got in Prescott’s way to allow Steinke to grab the ball, but it bounced off of someone and straight back to Prescott. He hit a hard shot that Steinke blocked, but the ball went straight to Greyden Saunders. He punched the ball into the wide open net to make it 2-0. The Mavericks had their best chance in the 70th minute. Panek got a lead pass into the box while past the defense. MacMillan came out to challenge him and Panek dribbled around him. Panek had a wide open net but had to use his weaker left foot to attempt a shot, and he hit a slow roller that Blake Forman caught up to and cleared over the net to keep the shutout going.
The Grizzlies sealed the game in the 72nd minute. They earned a corner kick after going on the counter and Vizzino sent in a cross that was partially cleared. The ball bounced straight to Saunders and he lofted the ball back into the box. Corwin was the only one in the vicinity of the ball and he headed it in to a wide open net for his second goal of the night. Steinke made two more great saves in the last 10 minutes to keep the score from becoming more lopsided.
“We played well at times,” Foley said. “We just didn’t convert.”
Meadowdale wraps up with a pair of games on the road against Oak Harbor (Monday) and Shorewood (Wednesday).
“I want to see us go out and play competitively and get back to moving the ball and we were playing on our heels rather than playing our game.”
Foley noted that Meadowdale might see Glacier Peak again in the district playoffs, depending on how the first round game goes. The Mavericks continue to mature as a team but they still have a ways to go.
“They’ve got to get to a point where they feel comfortable playing with each other and stepping out on the field and playing a team like Glacier Peak and feeling confident and knowing they can play with them for 80 minutes,” Foley said. “They’ve started to gain that confidence, but we need to take it to the next level. We’re good. We’ve got to take good to great. We’ve got to have some of the breaks that come along with that. Tonight we didn’t get any of the breaks.”
— By David Pan and Quint Turner