SHORELINE — Bookended by a stumbling start and a sour conclusion, 2019 was a season of progress for Edmonds-Woodway.
Nathan Berg scored a pair of goals and No. 4 seed Squalicum ousted the sixth-seeded Warriors, 2-0, in a winner-to-state, loser-out match at Shoreline Stadium, ending E-W’s season.
“I was really proud of our progress this season,” Warriors head coach Mike Ochoa said. “We worked a lot on keeping possession of the ball and that doesn’t always work in high school games, so I think from the beginning to the end, that practice really improved our touch on the ball and movement of the ball.
“We weren’t here last year, so it’s another step. We have some great kids returning and hopefully we can make another run.”
The Warriors opened the district tournament with a 1-0 win over Shorewood, but fell, 2-1, in a gut-wrenching penalty shootout against to rival Meadowdale. E-W then ran out of steam against Squalicum.
Edmonds-Woodway was without its leading scorer and captain, junior midfielder Sebastian Olson, who tore his ACL in a 2-1 regular-season win over Meadowdale on April 10, a major blow to their possession-based style Ochoa alluded to.
“He basically was the playmaker for our team for a lot of those wins,” Ochoa said. “We really tried to put a run at state without our captain and our guy in the center of the field. That really made a difference tonight because that’s where they won the game the most was in the middle and they were able to find spaces for their forwards.”
Berg scored his first goal in the 19th minute, finishing a cross to put the Storm up 1-0.
His second came in the 63rd minute, as the sophomore forward tapped in a goal near the right post after a cross courtesy of junior Mason Lloyd from the left corner flag fell right to his foot.
Despite the results of Thursday’s match, Ochoa was bullish on his program’s future.
“This is a good team, but I think next year can even better,” Ochoa said. “We have a lot of kids returning. We’ll miss our senior class, but hopefully we’ll have another run to state.”
Squalicum enters the state regional round as the No. 3 team in District 1. Shorecrest, which defeated Snohomish, 3-2, in penalty kicks early Thursday, and Squalicum elected not to play the third-place game and will be seeded for state according to their district tournament seeds. Each team will be matched up with a No. 2 seed in its respective state opener.
Shorecrest beat Squalicum 4-3 in overtime in the first round of the tournament last Saturday.