MUKILTEO — Relentless.
If there were just one word to describe the Kamiak boys soccer team, that would be it.
With four seconds to play in Thursday night’s game and Edmonds-Woodway having just cleared a ball from its own end, Zach Bush rushed to get off one last corner kick aiming to get one more ball in the goal before the final whistle.
No matter that Kamiak was ahead 5-0 and had the game all but sewn up 15 minutes into the match between Wesco South opponents.
“One thing our coach has always pushed is to be relentless,” Kamiak senior captain Tyler Uddin said. “So, relentless is a big motto for this team and fight all the way to the end and punish teams.”
Punish is a good way to describe what Kamiak did to the Warriors. Not only did the victory clinch a berth into the 4A district playoffs for the Knights, but it sent E-W to the brink of playoff elimination. If Mariner beats Cascade today, then the Warriors will be left out of the postseason. Even if one-win Cascade comes out on top, E-W has to win two more games to make it.
After the game, the Knights’ captains said that revenge was on their mind entering this one — even though they beat the Warriors 1-0 on the road in the teams’ previous meeting.
“I knew that all the kids really wanted this because last time we played Edmonds-Woodway, we only won 1-0 and we should have destroyed them that game,” Uddin said. “So people wanted vengeance and to show them how much better we were today.”
Fellow captain Kevin Barron agreed.
“One of our players in a meeting before the game said we could get 3-0 by the half and that’s what we did,” the junior defender said. “I thought it was definitely possible to win 5-0. Even more, if we kept pushing.
“We could definitely have ran it up pretty far.”
Kamiak needed just 10 minutes to get its first goal. Alec Harrison converted a point-blank chance to give the Knights a 1-0 edge. He got an assist from Bush.
Three minutes later, Edmonds committed a foul a few yards outside of the penalty box. Kamiak easily converted the indirect kick when Uddin took a Warren Tomlinson touch and lifted it over the wall of Warrior defenders into the back of the net.
“When I stepped into the ball there was no question that I was going to make that,” Uddin said.
Kamiak wasted no time scoring again. This time Will Choi put away a long-distance chance from about 35 yards out in the 15th minute. Peyton Slimp assisted.
The early barrage of goals seemed to suck the fight out of the Warriors. The Knights went the other direction, pushing until the final seconds.
“Everybody played well today,” Knights coach Garfield Scott said. “Everything that we talked about before the match, little things at halftime, we went out and accomplished it. We did very well. I’m very pleased.”
Chris Menghini started in goal for Kamiak and was relieved by Roland Upenieks. The Knight duo combined for the shutout, though there weren’t many shots to defend. At one point just before a Kamiak corner kick, Menghini ran out of his box just to touch the midfield stripe.
In the second half, Choi scored his second goal, this time on a Max Aceves assist. Then Nate Littrell’s header off a Slimp corner closed the scoring.
E-W’s Joseph Pejovic surrendered all five goals before being relieved by Griffin Small.
Scott believes that this win is another sign that his team is headed in the right direction at the right time of year with the playoffs looming.
“I would say yeah, going in the right direction,” Scott said. “I’m pleased with last match (a win over Mariner) and this match we played very well, so it’s just a matter of keeping it going.”
Jon Saperstein covers high school sports for The Herald, follow him on twitter @jonsap and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Kamiak H.S.
Goals—Alec Harrison (K) 1, Tyler Uddin (K) 1, Will Choi (K) 2, Nate Littrell (K) 1. Assists—Zach Bush (K) 1, Max Aceves (K) 1, Peyton Slimp (K) 2. Goalkeepers—Edmonds-Woodway: Joseph Pejovic, Griffin Small. Kamiak: Chris Menghini, Roland Upenieks. Records—Edmonds-Woodway 4-8 league, 5-8 overall. Kamiak 7-4-1, 8-5-1.