Edmonds-Woodway’s season ended with a disappointing 3-0 loss to Metro District champion Ballard on a warm, sunny Tuesday afternoon at Interbay Stadium in Seattle.
The Warriors, the No. 2 seed from 3A District 1, were in the state boys soccer playoffs for the first time since 2003 and struggled throughout the evening.
“We didn’t play our game,” said Tony Gilman, who is in his 22nd season as head coach of the Warriors.
And Ballard, the No. 2 seed from the Sea-King District and champions of the Metro League postseason tournament, capitalized.
“They are a good team, they took advantage of our inability to do what we were capable of doing,” Gilman said.
Ballard came out aggressively on the offensive end in the first half and out shot the Warriors, 7-3, converting the game’s first goal in the 14th minute.
Junior midfielder Raul Rivera-Varga got credit for the initial score off a cross from senior midfielder Karim Piottin-Ndiaye, who led the Beavers in assists this season.
The Warriors had several scoring chances in the first half but again, similar to last week’s District 1 final against Glacier Peak, could not convert.
Emdonds-Woodway controlled the ball at times and got crosses into the middle, but didn’t make enough the runs into the box and take shots, Gilman said.
“We felt we had an opportunity” to come back after the half, Gilman said, “ and get our first one.”
However, Ballard made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute, when senior midfielder David Scott broke free from the E-W defense. Scott shot the ball past Small, who came out to the top of the penalty box to challenge in a virtual one-on-one situation.
The Warriors dodged another goal in the 63rd minute when a penalty kick by Ballard’s Isle Raftery glanced off the top of the goal. Ballard moved the ball within a few feet of the goal, when a tripping penalty was called on midfielder Jeremy Langsted.
In the 71st minute, Piottin-Ndiaye got loose inside penalty box and added an insurance goal for Ballard as fatigue and frustration set in on the E-W defense.
Early in the first half, Ballard’s top goal scorer, senior forward Aaron Banobi, went down in the penalty box in the sixth minute with an injury to his left knee. He did not return.
Ballard, ranked No. 1 in the state of Washington in Class 3A by The Seattle Times coming into the game, improved to 16-2-1.
E-W, ranked eighth in the state, finished 12-5-3 after going 4-10-2 last year.
“It sucks to lose this way,” said Small, who will play at NCAA Division II St. Martin’s this fall. “(But) it can be a huge start to E-W soccer. I believe in our juniors.”
The Warriors’ JV went undefeated this year, as well as last year, so Gilman has talent coming up the ranks although some positions will be hard to fill, most notably Small at goalkeeper.
“It’s been an incredible year, especially from where we were last year,” Small said.
— By Tony Dondero