MILL CREEK — Taking an early lead in a soccer game can often swing momentum in a team’s favor for the rest of the contest. Early season victories can often have the same affect on a team’s year.
Tuesday night the Kamiak Knights took care of both, scoring early and riding the momentum to a 3-1 victory over Jackson in the first game of the season for both teams.
Senior Colin Higman got the Knights on the board first and the Knights held a 1-0 lead for most of the first half.
“(Getting an early goal) sets the tone and kind of puts the other team under pressure,” Kamiak head coach Garfield Scott said. “The main thing, even when you get an early goal, is to keep pushing through.”
The Timberwolves had very few chances to score and their goalkeeper Armando Huerta remained busy. Three times in the first 40 minutes Huerta came up with saves that kept the Knights from extending their lead to multiple goals.
The Knights’ best chance to extend the lead came in the final minute of the half when Max Aceves controlled the ball after a save by Huerta. Acevas got a second attempt off, but the ball hit the top of the crossbar and sailed out of play.
The Knights had controlled the style of play for the first 40 minutes, but settled for a 1-0 lead at the break.
Junior Zach Bush’s goal in the 51st minute extended the Knights lead to 2-0. Bush took a rebound off the crossbar and took a shot that Huerta had no chance of stopping putting the Knights in firm control of the game.
“I guess that is Soccer 101, keep following the shots,” Scott said. “We’ve talked about that. That is just basic soccer right there.”
The Knights second goal forced the Timberwolves to get more aggressive and it paid off in the 66th minute when senior Aureo Apreza split Kamiak’s defense and put a shot in the lower left corner of the goal to cut the deficit to 2-1. With the game now in reach, Jackson remained aggressive for the rest of the contest.
“In the second half they kind of had to push a lot more numbers forward to get back in the game,” Scott said. “So that was expected. We kind of expected that and talked about that at halftime.”
With Jackson being the aggressor, Scott admits there was some sense of concern when Jackson got its goal.
“A little bit,” he said. “They were pushing numbers forward and there was still a little time on the clock and if they would have scored it would have changed the whole complexion of the game.”
But an equalizing goal never came and the Knights put the game away in the 79th minute when junior Rajal Gounder scored on what looked like an improbable shot from the right side of the goal just before the endline. The ball rolled across on a horizontal path and hit the left post and bounced in to give the Knights a 3-1 lead.
“He’s a good player,” Scott said. “It went through a couple of players and he got a good strike off. He got a nice little rebound there and it went in. It was a good shot, a good strike.”
At Everett Memorial Stadium
Goals—Colin Higman (K), Zach Bush (K), Rajal Gounder (K), Aureo Apreza (J). Assists—Max Aceves (K). Goalkeepers—Kamiak: Roland Upenieks. Jackson: Armando Huerta. Records—Kamiak 1-0 overall. Jackson 0-1.