By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH — One word described the Glacier Peak High School boys soccer team’s performance Wednesday night:
The Grizzlies tucked away their chances when they presented themselves, then prevented the Chief Sealth Seahawks from scoring on theirs, prevailing 2-1 in the first round of the 3A state tournament at Snohomish High School.
Chief Sealth produced more scoring chances than Glacier Peak. But the Grizzlies took their chances early in the contest to build a 2-0 lead. Then when the Seahawks began controlling play in the second half, the Grizzlies did some last-ditch defending to prevent Chief Sealth from catching up.
“When we got our opportunities we were very dangerous,” Glacier Peak coach Shannon Murray said. “They were few and far between as the game wore on. But we managed the game very well. We were very opportunistic today. When we got our chances we punished them for it.”
Michael Mikulsky and Branson Corwin were the opportunistic ones who scored the goals for Glacier Peak (13-5-2), the top seed from District 1, which advanced to the state quarterfinals, where the Grizzlies will face Bainbridge. That game is Saturday at Snohomish High School at a time to be determined.
“It feels great,” Mikulsky said of the victory. “The chance to win another state title is great. I love it.
“We definitely struggled out there,” Mikulsky added. “But in the state tournament it’s all about fighting through it. We definitely weren’t on top of our game today, but we still fought through, and we ended up with the win.”
Mori Tsuchiya scored a second-half rocket for Chief Sealth, the fourth seed from District 2, which finished its season 13-3-3.
“That was a good group,” Murray said of the Seahawks. “I think they gave us as much trouble as anyone’s given us all year long. But we came out early and surprised them with our ability to counter. As the game wore on their class kind of started to come across, but we defended well.”
Chief Sealth had a little more of the ball during the first half, but Glacier Peak got the goals to take a 2-0 lead into halftime.
Glacier Peak needed less than 60 seconds to find the net. Alex Bergstrom’s shot from the edge of the penalty box was parried by Chief Sealth goalkeeper Kristian Nilssen. Mikulsky was the first to react to the rebound and he lifted the ball around Nilssen to give the Grizzlies a dream start.
Another rebound goal in the 14th minute made it 2-0. Spencer Pettit’s lofted clearance from midfield seemed harmless enough. However, Kai Duan challenged Nilssen for the ball in the air, causing Nilssen to spill it. Corwin bounced the loose ball past a stranded Nilssen to double the Grizzlies’ lead.
“We took our chances,” Mikulsky said. “They were a great squad and didn’t give up many opporutnities. But we took advantage of it, and I’m proud of my team for that.”
Chief Sealth was undaunted and continued to press the remainder of the half. But the Seahawks couldn’t find the same opportunism as the ball stayed out on a mad scramble in front, then Benjamin Lee put a header off the post.
While the Seahawks began to control the game late in the first half, they seized it completely in the second. However, where the Grizzlies took their chances, Chief Sealth spurned its opportunities. In just the first 12 minutes the Seahawks had three great chances. However, Grizzles defender Adrian Caple cleared the first off the goal line, Elijah Lazo volleyed the second just wide, and Glacier Peak goalkeeper Lucas MacMillan made a triple save on Eduardo Cardoza, Abdinur Galgalo and Lazo, keeping it at 2-0.
It took a special shot to finally get the Seahawks on the board. In the 58th minute Tsuchiya gathered the ball in space near midfield, carried it forward, then unleased a bullet from 30 yards out, finding the far corner to make it 2-1.
Chief Sealth continued to control the ball down the stretch, but the Grizzlies defense, marshaled by Pettit, hung tough to close out the victory.
At Snohomish H.S.
Goals—Michael Mikulsky (GP), Branson Corwin (GP), Mori Tsuchiya (CS). Assists—Name (School). Goalkeepers—Chief Sealth: Kristian Nilssen. Glacier Peak: Lucas MacMillan. Records—Glacier Peak 13-5-2 overall. Chief Sealth 13-3-3.