Grizzlies earn state soccer berth with 2-0 win over Mavs

By Quint Turner

The Glacier Peak Grizzlies blanked the Mavericks 2-0 in the second round of the Boys’ Soccer Wesco District Tournament. The win earned the Grizzlies a berth in the state tournament and a spot in the District Championship on Saturday.

Branson Corwin scored the first goal in the 12th minute when he took a pass from Michael Mikulsky and buried a low shot past goalie Evan Lee. The Mavs almost tied the game in the 48th minute when Chad Triplett sent a cross into the goal box and Colton Davis deflected the shot on net, but Jesus Mendoza saved it. The second goal for the Grizzlies came in the 55th minute when a free kick by Peter Vizzoni bounced into the box and hit one of the arms of a Maverick defender. A penalty kick was called, and Connor Seed buried it to give the Grizzlies a 2-0 lead.

Glacier Peak dominated for the first 20 minutes in possession. The Mavs could not string any passes together or generate any pressure while the Grizzlies cut through the Maverick defense with ease. Corwin fired the first shot of the game in the 3rd minute when he the ball fell to him at the top of the box, and took a low shot that was easily saved by Lee. Six minutes later, Corwin sent a cross into the MHS box that found the head of Sam Nrycluk. Nrycluk headed the ball just wide, and the score remained 0-0. In the 12th minute, the Grizzlies got their first goal. Mikulsky trapped a bouncing ball near the MHS goal box, then tapped a lob over Griffen Over’s head and into the box. Corwin knocked down the ball and gained possession in the box. Lee tried to come out and stop Corwin from advancing further, but because of that, Corwin’s no-look two-touch shot found its way under Lee and into the net, putting the Grizzlies up 1-0.

The Grizzlies continued to pressure. Corwin, on a throw-in, got the ball into the box before the ball was partially cleared to Adrian Caple. Caple took a shot at the top of the box, but the ball went high. The Mavs finally got a chance in the 16th minute. Chris Prasanna stole the ball away from sweeper Matt Johnston in Glacier Peak’s end, and dribbled into the box. He dropped the ball back to Tristan Springer for a shot attempt, but Springer shot the ball high.

Glacier Peak almost scored again in the 26th minute. A through ball bounced around in the MHS goal box and then bounced back to midfielder Vizzoni. Vizzoni attempted a one-touch shot that struck the crossbar and stayed out. The Mavs came back two minutes later. Taylor Vonderhofen sent a pass up to Prasanna and Prasanna tipped the ball to Austin Panek at the top of the GPHS goal box. Panek tried a shot, but didn’t get enough power behind it and the ball dribbled to Mendoza.

A somewhat controversial no-call happened in the 40th minute. Vonderhofen took a corner kick that was cleared out, but Taylor Linton sent the ball right back into the goal box. The ball took a strange bounce over the defense and Panek was the first to control the ball. He took a dribble or two towards the net and was surrounded by Grizzly defenders. One of them knocked him down inside the box, but there was no call for a penalty kick. Time ran out after the clear by the Grizzly defense, and the game went into the second half with the Grizzlies up 1-0.

Prasanna did not play in the second half due to what appeared to be tightness in his left leg. No word on if he’ll play in the next round. The loss of such an important forward was felt by the desperate Mavs, as they struggled to generate any offense. However, the Grizzlies continued to put the pressure on. In the 46th minute, Mikulsky found Riley Prescott breaking down the sideline, and Prescott got to the goal box and fired a low shot that was punched out by Lee. The ball bounced back to Riley Cannon, and he took a weak shot that was easily saved.

Two minutes later, the Mavs almost tied the game up. Triplett found some room along the sidelines and sent in a long cross into the Grizzly box. Davis got his foot on it right next to the goalpost and tried to tap the ball home, but Jesus saved it. A bizarre play back the other way in the 50th minute. Cannon got down the sidelines and sent a high lob that looked like it was toeing the endline. Lee thought he had the ball, but it went over his head and Mikulsky ran in from out of nowhere and missed getting a foot on the ball for an easy tap-in. The game remained 1-0.

But in the 55th minute, it became 2-0. The Grizzlies earned a free kick near the corner of the MHS goal box, and Vizzoni attempted a low cross into the box. The ball bounced straight through the scrum of people rushing into the box and went to a Maverick defender on the other side of the box. Somehow, the center ref saw that the ball nicked a Maverick’s arm, and called for a penalty kick. I personally did not see who it hit. The play looked like every other low cross that bounces past everyone, but the ref saw what the crowd didn’t. Seed took the PK, and shot it low past Lee for the 2-0 lead.

The Mavs tried to get back into the game a minute later. They earned a free kick, and Panek’s cross in was headed high by Davis. In the 60th minute, Davis sent a lob into the box that was headed by Panek on net, but that was easily saved by Jesus. Two minutes later, Linton fired a free kick from 60 yards out that Jesus got to first, but he juggled the ball and Panek jammed it free. However, the ref said that Jesus had possession and called the play dead. Craig Elder attempted a few shots in the last ten minutes that all went wide or high in a last-ditch effort, but the Grizzlies hung on to win 2-0.

With the win, the Grizzlies play Shorewood in the district championship game on Saturday, at Shoreline Stadium, at 7 pm. They also clinch a state playoff berth. The Mavericks now have a tough road ahead for a berth of their own. They play at Shorewood on Thursday at 9 pm, and if they win that game, they play the winner of the Oak Harbor-Stanwood game for the last berth in the state tournament.

Sports correspondent Quint Turner is a student at Meadowdale High School.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.