By David Krueger Herald Writer
EVERETT — Archbishop Murphy head soccer coach Mike Bartley correctly predicted the score of the Wildcats’ district-opening game against Sedro-Woolley.
He just picked the wrong winning team.
A goal by Sedro-Woolley’s Isaac Swenson in the 46th minute gave the Cubs a 1-0 victory in the first round of the 2A District 1/2 tournament Saturday afternoon at Everett Memorial Stadium.
“It was actually what I predicted, except I thought we’d win 1-nil,” Bartley said. “But it was going to be tight, it was going to be close. That’s the best team Sedro-Woolley’s had. Last year they made it to the final four, so we knew it would be a tough game but we also prepped for this game. We were ready. We just didn’t finish.”
After a scoreless first half, Swenson netted the game’s lone goal after Archbishop Murphy goalkeeper Ryan Henderson deflected a shot, and Swenson found himself with the ball in front of the net. He fired it into the corner for the eventual game-winner.
“I scouted them and saw them play. They have outstanding goalkeeping, a great counter-attack and their coach is a great coach,” Bartley said of Sedro-Woolley. “We knew all of that and we knew we had to play our best today. I thought we did a really good job we just didn’t finish our opportunities.”
It was the only shot to get past Henderson, a freshman who had eight saves in the game, including a diving effort in the 20th minute to kick away a shot that was headed for the goal.
“He stepped up. He was excellent today,” Bartley said. “He made two saves on the goal. I think Ryan’s a super keeper. He’s going to be great in the future. He’s great right now.”
Henderson’s counterpart, Sedro-Woolley goalkeeper Michael Moser, also had a few big saves. The Wildcats threatened throughout the game, with two more chances in the 77th minute.
But Moser and the Cubs’ defense turned Archbishop Murphy away.
“The whole team stepped up,” Bartley said. “That’s one of the better games we’ve played, we just didn’t finish our chances. That’s the way it is. That’s soccer.”
Bartley was pleased with the way his young Archbishop Murphy (13-3-1 overall) squad responded in the postseason. The Wildcats feature eight freshmen on the varsity roster, playing in their first district game.
“We’re really young,” Bartley said. “We’re trying to use the older kids to show them what it’s like and help them get used to this. We’re trying to explain how this is the next level up. The Northwest Conference has four outstanding teams that are in this tournament and we have to play our best to win those games.”
Sedro-Woolley (12-2-3), out of the Northwest Conference, will take on league-rival Anacortes in a winner-to-state game on Tuesday. The Seahawks defeated Sammamish Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats face Sammamish in a loser-out game on Tuesday.
Archbishop Murphy finds itself in a similar position to where Sedro-Woolley found itself last season. After the Wildcats defeated the Cubs 4-1 in the opening round of districts, Sedro-Woolley won five consecutive games to place third at the 2A state tournament.
Now, Archbishop Murphy hopes to follow in the Cubs’ footsteps.
“I just told them basically, Sedro-Woolley was in the same boat (last year),” Bartley said. “We beat them last year, in the first game, and then they won out and they got to the state final four. So, anything’s possible going forward. If we just finish our chances, I think we can win these games and we can play with any of them.”
At Everett Memorial Stadium
Goals—Isaac Swenson (S-W). Assists—none. Goalkeepers—Sedro-Woolley: Michael Moser. Archbishop Murphy: Ryan Henderson. Records—Sedro-Woolley 12-2-3 overall. Archbishop Murphy 13-3-1.