By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
EVERETT — After a scoreless first half, Archbishop Murphy got a goal five minutes into the second half and the defense locked down yet another opponent as the Wildcats beat Mark Morris 2-0 in a 2A state tournament first-round game at Everett Memorial Stadium Tuesday night.
The win advances Archbishop Murphy to the quarterfinals for the fourth straight year. The Wildcats host the winner of tonight’s Bellingham-White River game on Saturday.
“The goal is to win it all,” said Murphy forward Aidan Huggins, who scored Murphy’s first goal. “We just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing: Keep scoring when we can and keep the defense tight.”
Archbishop Murphy head coach Mike Bartley thought his team was dribbling too much and playing a little sluggish in the first half, so at halftime he encouraged his players to pick up the pace and start hitting the gaps.
It paid dividends almost immediately. After a long throw-in by Josh Bartley, Huggins corralled a loose ball in the Mark Morris goal box and hammered home a shot to break the scoreless tie and give the Wildcats the lead.
“We talked about needing to get a body to the ball and get people in to get the knockdowns and that’s basically what happened,” said Mike Bartley. “Aidan went for the ball and the ball got deflected and he finished it.”
After using a strict man-to-man defense to keep Archbishop Murphy scoreless for the first half, Mark Morris coach Harold West was disappointed in the break down of his defense.
“They crash the goal really well,” West said. “Our keeper didn’t come off his line and control his area and my guys didn’t stay ball-side, goal-side and they snuck it in. They came in and won the ball.”
With the lead, Archbishop Murphy kept the pressure on and 10 minutes later a long pass in from the side was knocked into the goal by a Mark Morris defender, giving the Wildcats a nearly insurmountable lead. The Wildcats have given up just two goals all season and have never trailed in a game.
“Our defense has been the key because if we don’t let a goal in we’ll win by a 1-0 margin,” Huggins said.
Going into the game the Wildcats were without injured defender Cobi Weyers. But senior Kristo Hausmann filled in admirably and defenders Alex Kramer and Nick Ulowetz did another solid job keeping the opponent from getting quality shots on goal. The Wildcats finished with a 15-2 advantage in shots on goal.
“Those two back there I never touch them,” Mike Bartley said. “Alex and Nick are fabulous.”
The Wildcats used their size and physical play to keep Mark Morris at bay, a fact that West complained about a few times during the game. But after the game West was complimentary of Murphy.
“They’re smart physical,” West said. “They have a couple of guys who own their space very well.”
At Everett Memorial Stadium
Goals—Aidan Huggins (AM) 1, Mark Morris own goal. Goalkeepers—Archbishop Murphy: Jordan Trinka. Mark Morris: Tristan Simons. Records—Mark Morris x-x overall. Archbishop Murphy 19-0.