SNOHOMISH — The Snohomish boys soccer team entered its Thursday home game against Edmonds-Woodway tied for first place in Wesco 3A with Mountlake Terrace.
Before the season started, first-year Panthers coach Matt Raney predicted that his team would feature a balanced offensive attack, and that approach has certainly worked well so far. Snohomish tallied 40 goals in its first 11 contests, by far the most scores in Wesco 3A.
The Panthers’ offense continued to produce Thursday. Jason Fairhurst scored two goals, and Snohomish took sole possession of first place in the conference with a 3-2 win, its fifth consecutive victory.
“A few players have taken the lead (with our offense), the right players — the senior leaders,” said Raney. “But overall, we’ve spread it around pretty well. We’re a well-balanced team.”
The win was critical for Snohomish’s hopes of winning the Wesco 3A title. With three games to go in the regular season, the Panthers have 24 points, three more than the Hawks and five more than the Warriors.
“There was a hunger in our squad tonight that we haven’t seen enough of,” Raney said. “(A win like this) can grow our confidence for the playoffs. We’re very aware of our deficiencies, but we’re discovering how dangerous we can be. Our goal is to win a state title.”
Edmonds-Woodway had risen to third in the standings with a seven-game unbeaten streak, but that run ended April 18 when the Warriors suffered a 2-0 defeat to a winless Stanwood team.
Both teams entered Thursday’s contest averaging 1.6 goals allowed per contest, but Snohomish’s superior offensive firepower (the Panthers average 3.6 goals to Edmonds-Woodway’s 2.3) was too much for the Warriors to overcome.
Fairhurst’s first goal came via a header in the 13th minute. Three minutes later, he scored again — with his foot this time — to give Snohomish a 2-0 advantage.
In the 27th minute, Eduardo Torralba-Barragan registered a goal to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead.
Edmonds-Woodway made things interesting late, however, receiving goals from Kyle Aure in the 74th minute and Julio Maldanado in stoppage time.
“Was this a missed opportunity? No,” said Warriors coach Mike Ochoa. “This is a good mark of where we are in the middle of the season. (We have) a team that can finish in the top three (in the conference), get to state and make a run there. We can (learn) from our two conference losses, which can help us reach our goal of getting to the state tournament.”