FEDERAL WAY — The Mariner soccer team’s state tournament didn’t exactly get off on the right foot, with their opponent scoring in just the second minute of the game.
Then after the Marauders got back in it, another precious foot was lost.
Mariner saw its senior captain Cristhian Robles go down in the 17th minute with an injured ankle as the Marauders fought to keep up with an undefeated Jefferson team in the first round of the 4A state tournament. In the end, the Raiders defeated Mariner 5-2 and ended the Marauders season Wednesday night at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.
“They’re a good team. You’ve got to give credit to them. They’re a really good team,” said Mariner head coach Vince DeSimone. “Unfortunately, defensively we made five big mistakes.”
Jefferson wasted no time, netting a goal in the second minute of the game by Justin Yoon.
Mariner battled back with a goal in the 11th minute by Geovanni Ramirez, who took a shot that was saved by the Jefferson goalkeeper but was deflected back to Ramirez. He calmly took the rebound and put it into the net.
Four minutes later the Marauders took their first lead of the game in the 15th minute, when Carlos Rodriguez took a shot from close to 20 yards out that found the goal.
The lead, however was short lived. Jefferson’s Louis Alvaro Osornio took the ball down the field on the ensuing kickoff and netted the equalizer within a minute of Rodriguez’s goal.
The Raiders, the No. 1 seed out of District 3/4, added another goal in the 34th minute after Brandon Madsen took a deflection off a Mariner defender and gave Jefferson (15-0-4 overall) a 3-2 advantage before halftime. In the second half the Raiders, who champions of the South Puget Sound League, added a pair of goals to pull away.
“Then it became a panic game. But that’s no excuse. We lost some players we could have used but we’re not going to make an excuse for that,” DeSimone said. “We don’t find excuses. I hate excuses.”
Even some Marauders who could play were banged up, including forward Miguel Medina who leads Mariner with 18 goals. Medina broke his hand last Wednesday, played against Snohomish on Thursday, had surgery on Friday and was back at practice Monday.
He was wearing a cast over his arm in Wednesday night’s game.
Medina said he didn’t expect Jefferson to come out so aggressive and score a quick goal. That, coupled with the loss of Robles, made things especially difficult for Mariner (12-6-1) to keep up with the Raiders.
“I thought it was pretty exciting that we made it to state,” Medina said. “I thought we were going to go a lot further than we did. Unfortunately, it didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but even the greatest have to lose sometimes.”
Robles agreed with his fellow senior.
“I have high expectations for everything and I like trying to be the best, so I’m a little bummed that we didn’t go further, but it was a good year,” Robles said. “… We’re just like a family. We get along quite well.”
The defender said he went to try to tap a loose ball toward the goal when a Jefferson player collided with the inside of his ankle. Robles was walking around the sidelines, trying to get the athletic trainer to let him back into the game, but he couldn’t pass all the required tests.
“I don’t even know what happened. It was bad. I tweaked it really bad,” Robles said. “I tried getting up but I fell down right away. I couldn’t even walk. It was the most pain I’ve ever felt in my life. I wanted to get back in but their trainer said she wasn’t going to put me back in if I was limping so I was trying my hardest not to limp. Cleared walking (test) but when I went to pass it hurt my ankle and I couldn’t go back.”
DeSimone looked at his injured player and told Robles he wasn’t going to allow him to go back into the game hurt.
“I said no,” DeSimone said. “He’s a fighter. And Miguel Medina with a cast on. He’s a warrior too.”
The Mariner coach said that even though the season didn’t end the way he and his team would have liked, he still had a great year with the team, which he said developed a special bond over the course of the season.
“All the years I’ve been coaching soccer I’ve always had kids you love, but this team was special,” DeSimone said. “I love every one of these guys. They were like warriors. People would give you all they had to win the game. That extra effort. We built up this love and I’m really happy to see them performing that way. We just built up this communication and love. We never get mad at each other. We work with each other. That’s what’s so special about this team this year.
“The players came out to play. They gave 100 percent. I loved it.”
At Federal Way Memorial Stadium
Goals—Justin Yoon (TJ), Geovanni Ramirez (M), Carlos Rodriguez (M), Louis Alvaro Osornio (TJ), Matthew Cruz (TJ), Brandon Madsen (TJ), Isidro Prado-Huerta (TJ). Assists—Madsen (TJ), Prado-Huerta (TJ) 2. Goalkeepers—Mariner: Silvan Katynskiy. Thomas Jefferson: McKay Owsley. Records—Mariner 12-6-1 overall. Thomas Jefferson 15-0-4.