STANWOOD — Marysville Pilchuck junior Sebastian Navarro has a knack for coming up big in important games against Stanwood.
In the first meeting between the two teams earlier this season, Navarro’s goal broke a scoreless tie in the 70th minute and scored the game’s lone goal in a 1-0 victory.
On Monday, Navarro did it again.
He scored the game’s first goal in the 49th minute and helped the Tomahawks to a 2-1 victory over the Spartans. With the win, Marysville Pilchuck claimed the top seed from the Wesco 3A north in the district tournament and clinched at least a share of the league championship.
“That (winning the league championship) is what we set out to do at the beginning of the season and today it happened,” Marysville Pilchuck head coach Paul Bartley said.
After two Marysville Pilchuck shots were turned away by Stanwood goalkeeper Riley Martin, Navarro put away a third to give the Tomahawks a 1-0 lead.
“I don’t even know how to explain it,” Navarro said. “I had a feeling I was going to score and that was my opportunity and I just took it. You have to take the opportunities they give you and finish them. That’s how you win games and that’s how we won today.”
Marysville Pilchuck junior Israel Amador added a goal in the 60th minute off of an assist from senior Fabian Panduro-Galvan. At the time the goal appeared to be insurance for the Tomahawks, but would later prove to be the game-winner.
“You always want to get a second (goal),” Bartley said. “I’d love to get a third one, but I’ll take the second one.”
The Tomahawks 2-0 lead didn’t last long. Stanwood senior Laurence Wanambisi scored in the 68th minute to cut the deficit to one. The Tomahawks had held Wanambisi, Wesco’s goal-scoring leader without a goal for the better part of two games before he finally broke through.
Stanwood had multiple chances to score in the game’s final 10 minutes, but came up empty and the Tomahawks celebrated a league championship.
“I feel like I’m dreaming,” Navarro said after the win. “I want someone to pinch me.”
Navarro and Amador were the offensive heroes of the game for the Tomahawks, but just as important was the goalkeeping of senior Ryan Spiva and sophomore Kole Bradley-Kuk. Spiva played the first half and didn’t allow a goal. Bradley-Kuk played the second half and allowed the lone Stanwood goal, but came up with several key saves in the final moments of the game to preserve a Marysville Pilchuck victory.
“You could play either one,” Bartley said of his two goalkeepers. “They’re both good in the net.”
The Tomahawks had to overcome a tough middle of the season with several injuries, but Monday night it was all worth it.
“This team is ecstatic,” Bradley-Kuk said. “You can ask any of these kids if they are having a bad time and every single one of them would be absolutely stoked. We’re all stoked. This is what we live for. We wake up every day to feel this feeling.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter at @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Stanwood H.S.
Marysville Pilchuck — 0 2 — 2
Stanwood — 0 1 — 1
Goals—Sebastian Navarro (MP), Israel Amador (MP), Laurence Wanambisi (S). Assists—Fabian Panduro-Galvan (MP). Goalkeepers—Marysville Pilchuck: Ryan Spiva (first half), Kole Bradley-Kuk (second half). Stanwood: Riley Martin. Records—Marysville Pilchuck 7-5-0 league, 7-8-0 overall. Stanwood 6-6-0, 7-7-1.