SHORELINE — In the regular season, Shorewood and Glacier Peak played both of their Wesco 3A soccer games to draws.
Tuesday, the Thunderbirds and the Grizzlies met again in the semifinals of the 3A district 1 tournament. This time there had to be a winner and that team would advance to the district championship game and earn a berth in the state tournament.
Powered by a goal by Amir Roushenas in the 40th minute, Shorewood seized a 2-1 victory.
“They set (getting to state) as a goal,” Shorewood head coach Bill Wilkins said. “They were there last year and the year before. We’re trying to build an expectation to make it there.”
Shorewood will face Shorecrest at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Shoreline Stadium with the district championship at stake. Glacier Peak hosts a loser out game on Thursday.
Shorewood took the lead in the 28th minute when senior Taj McChesney redirected a free kick by senior Jack Allen with his head, but Roushenas’ goal just before halftime proved to be too much for the Grizzlies to overcome.
“Anytime you can score at the beginning of a half or at the end of the half I think it gives you extra energy, extra enthusiasm and extra confidence,” Wilkins said. “Many coaches would say that a two-goal lead is the worst one. I will take two any time.”
As big as the goal was for Shorewood, it was equally as deflating for Glacier Peak.
“A two-goal deficit is difficult. Goals are hard to come by in this game. Give (the Thunderbirds) a lot of credit. They finished the couple chances they had and unfortunately we weren’t able to grab ours.”
Trailing by two, Glacier Peak had to become the aggressor in the second half and it finally paid off in the 49th minute. Senior Peter Vizzoni delivered a free kick that senior Matt Johnson redirected to senior Sam Hryciuk for the Grizzlies first goal of the game.
Glacier Peak’s offense continued to push after cutting the deficit to one, but an equalizer never came. In large part thanks to the goalkeeping of sophomore Isaac Whitaker.
“He did super,” Wilkins said of Whitaker. “He was taking some better control of where he wants guys on the field, commanding in the (penalty) box and his distribution was really, really solid.”
Though the Grizzlies were never able to get the tying goal in the second half, they demonstrated the same poise while trailing that they had many times previously this season.
“Being down 2-0, we knew we could bounce back from that,” Veach said. “That was our expectation, even until those dying seconds. We believed we could get a goal in or maybe even win it in regulation.”
Glacier Peak was the second No. 1 seed of the day to fall, Marysville Pilchuck, the top seed from the Wesco 3A North, lost 1-0 to Shorecrest earlier in the day. Both the Grizzlies and the Tomahawks are faced with the challenge of winning two loser-out games to advance to state.
“We understand what’s at stake,” Veach said. “You win out from here on out. There is no confusion there. It’s win or go home and this team wants to win.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter at @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Shoreline Stadium
Goals–Taj McChesney (S), Amir Roushenas (S), Sam Hryciuk (GP). Assists–Jack Allen (S), Matt Johnson (GP). Goalkeepers–Shorewood: Isaac Whitaker. Glacier Peak: Lucas MacMillan Records–Shorewood 10-3-4 overall, Glacier Peak 13-2-2.