Playing in their first state tournament since 2005, the Meadowdale Mavericks hardly had a chance to enjoy the experience before the team was struck by a bombshell.
Less than 30 seconds into their WIAA State 3A Boys Soccer Tournament round-of-16 match, Interlake Saints’ senior forward Sybren Russell curled a long-range shot over the head of Mavericks’ goalkeeper Kyle Houk and into the upper right-hand corner of the Meadowdale goal, giving the Saints a very early 1-0 lead.
The Mavs, reeling from the surprise strike, never fully recovered and the Saints earned a 3-0 victory in the loser-out state match played at Edmonds Stadium.
With the loss, Meadowdale’s best season on the pitch in years came to a close; the team ended the 2019 campaign with a record of 14-6-0.
Mavs’ Coach Michael Nelson, admitted that the Russell first-minute goal startled his squad and then set the tone for the rest of the contest.
“It was a shock for everyone in the stadium, that first goal,” Nelson said. “I think even for the guy who shot it, it was a shock … I don’t think anyone saw that coming, the first 28 seconds scoring that. And that kind of dictated the whole game.”
“You’re taken out of your element and it kind of swings momentum against you,” Nelson continued. “And early on like that, it’s a hard battle to get back from. Yeah, that one hurt.”
Meadowdale then spent much of the game defending its half of the field as the Saints mounted one offensive push after another. Interlake outshot the Mavs 13-6 and took six corner kicks to Meadowdale’s none.
The Saints scored their second goal of the match on a penalty kick Russell converted by in the 62nd minute. Russell was tripped up in the 18-yard box by Meadowdale’s Baboucarr Sowe before calmly sliding the PK into the lower right corner. Sowe recieved a yellow card for the foul.
Interlake capped off its scoring in the 79th minute when, on a counterattack, Harlan Verthein sent a cross from near the right corner flag to teammate Addison Lopez, who was waiting alone at the far post. Lopez made no mistake with the pass, heading the ball into the Meadowdale goal.
While the Saints scored three times in the contest, one would have been enough for the victory as Meadowdale’s offensive attack was nearly non-existent on Wednesday.
“We had maybe three or four opportunities and that doesn’t win a game, not in this sport,” Nelson noted. “You have to get the opportunities; you have to take the opportunities and we just didn’t have them tonight. Hats off to Interlake’s back four, a solid back four that cleared the ball out, who took away (and) pushed off the pressure … and squeezed down on us.”
Meadowdale’s best chance to score came in the 40th minute when Momodou Sidibeh got a shot off between two defenders from just outside the six-yard box, but Saint’s goalkeeper Zachary Zhang was positioned right to block the shot.
In the 56th minute, Meadowdale’s Ethan Borland missed with a good opportunity off a counter, sending a shot from just inside the 18-yard box high over the Interlake goal.
While Nelson conceded that “Interlake was the better side” on Wednesday, the third-year coach of the Mavs was also reflective of the positive season his Mavs had as-a-whole this season.
“This game doesn’t dictate what our season was like and the strides we made,” Nelson concluded. “There’s a lot of shining moments we saw in this season as well as moving forward. I think in the long term this season was a success and there’s a lot of stuff to build off of, thanks to these seniors, thanks to these guys overall. In the long term, I’m happy.”
To view the entire WIAA State 3A Boys Soccer Tournament bracket, click http://wiaa.com/ardisplay.aspx?ID=1828.
Prep Boys Soccer: Interlake vs. Meadowdale, May 15 (WIAA State 3A Boys Soccer Tournament round-of-16 match)
Interlake 1 2 — 3
Meadowdale 0 0 — 0
— Sydren Russell (Interlake) in the 1st minute
— Sybren Russell (Interlake) in the 62nd minute (penalty kick)
— Addison Lopez (Interlake) in the 79th minute, assisted by Harlan Verthein
— Interlake, 13
— Meadowdale, 6
— Zachary Zhang (Interlake), 3
— Kyle Houk (Meadowdale), 3
— Interlake, 6
— Meadowdale, 0
— Adrian Moreno (Interlake) in the 54th minute
— Baboucarr Sowe (Meadowdale) in the 62nd minute
Records: Meadowdale 14-6-0 overall; Interlake 14-5-1 overall
Meadowdale next match: 2019 season completed
— By Doug Petrowski