The Edmonds-Woodway boys soccer team persevered through some first half struggles to earn a 3-1 first round 3A District playoff win over Marysville-Pilchuck at Edmonds Stadium, on a warm Saturday evening.
E-W is now just one win away from a state 3A playoff berth. The Warriors haven’t been to state since the early 2000s, Coach Tony Gilman said.
The Warriors (11-3-3) will face second-seeded Shorewood (11-4-2), a 4-1 winner over Mountlake Terrace, at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 12 at Edmonds Stadium.
E-W beat the T-birds 3-1 earlier in the season.
The Warriors took the lead for good against Marysville-Pilchuck when junior midfielder Ethan Hopkins’ goal in the 52nd minute made it 2-1. Hopkins had his shot initially blocked by Tomahawks’ goalkeeper Kole Bradley-Kuk but Bradley-Kuk couldn’t quite corral the ball and Hopkins stayed with it and poked it through the right corner into the back of the net.
The Warriors added some insurance in the 78th minute when senior defender Trey Clugston blasted a penalty kick past Bradley-Kuk into the left side of the net. The penalty was set up when Hopkins got loose on a breakaway and was tripped in the penalty box by Bradley-Kuk.
“We have no one go-to guy” on offense, said Gilman, noting that 12 different players have scored this season for the Warriors.
After dominating the first 20 minutes of the game by putting pressure on the Tomahawks’ defense with five shots on goal, E-W got out of sorts for most of the rest of the half, and fell behind 1-0 in the 24th minute. Sebastian Navorro of M-P nudged a shot past Warriors’ goalkeeper Griffin Small, who had come out a bit late to challenge the Tomahawks’ senior captain who had broken away from the E-W defense.
“The big thing for us was containing number 4 (Navorro),” Small said. Navorro had several near misses in addition to his goal in the first half.
For rest of the half, Gilman said the Tomahawks started playing more of long ball game, with forwards chasing long lead passes, and E-W got away from its short-passing attack. The M-P midfield also played well, actually better than E-W’s, Gilman said.
Right before the half, though, the Warriors got even.
After missing scoring chances on four successive corner kicks from junior defender Jake Stevenson starting in the 36th minute, the Warriors finally converted one.
Stevenson booted the kick from the right corner and senior midfielder Jose Aleman snuck past the defense on the far post and headed the ball into the goal to tie it at 1-1 in the 39th minute.
“He’s been a nice find,” Gilman said of Aleman, who is in his first year in the E-W soccer program.
The Warriors took nine corner kicks in the game, mostly by Stevenson, and several by junior midfielder Jeremy Langsted.
Both teams had nine shots on goal in the game, with Edmonds-Woodway having eight in the first half but only converting on Aleman’s header. The Warriors regrouped at the half and focused on primarily on defense and controlling the game and making the most of a few opportunities.
“After halftime we had to step up our energy,” Small said. “We just need to play a full 80 minutes.”
— By Tony Dondero