MUKILTEO — For a team playing as well as the Glacier Peak boys soccer squad is, anything that breaks up routine could be considered a gamble.
Grizzlies coach Kyle Veach said he had no clue how his club would respond the first game back from spring break, especially since he gave his players two extra days off last week.
It turns out not even added time away from the field could break up Glacier Peak’s momentum.
Three different Grizzlies scored goals, freshman goal keeper Marco Guerrero made a crucial, game-altering save in the first half and Glacier Peak earned a 3-1 Wesco 4A win on a cold and windy Monday night at Kamiak High School.
“You never know how they’ll respond to a couple days off, but they did a good job,” Veach said. “We moved the ball around against a good team.”
The win pushed Glacier Peak’s win streak to five games. The Grizzlies (7-2-0, 6-1-0 Wesco 4A) haven’t lost since March 24 and extended their lead in the conference standings, adding more distance between themselves and second-place Kamiak (6-2-1, 4-2-1).
Two of the Glacier Peak’s goals came off set pieces, and junior forward Danny Guerrero got the Grizzlies a first-half lead in the 22nd minute with a brilliant individual effort. From 25 yards out, Guerrero sent a ball curling into the upper-left portion of the goal that Kamiak goalkeeper Jesus Gary had no chance of stopping.
Just two minutes later, Glacier Peak added to its lead using another set piece. This time Cage Roberge struck a beautiful ball roughly 30 yards to Miles Johnston, who was awaiting the kick a few yards out from the left post. Johnston headed the ball across the face of the goal and past Gary, who could only watch as the Grizzlies’ Keegan Rubio buried a shot into the back of the net from point-blank range.
“We spend a good amount of time each week preparing for free kicks,” Johnston said. “They happen a lot in the game. If you can finish set pieces, then you are pretty much golden based off of how many opportunities you get them.”
Just like that, Glacier Peak owned a 2-0 advantage, but the quick scores were even more crippling to Kamiak given the scoring chance it had minutes earlier when forward Andre’ Hamilton had a one-on-one with Marco but couldn’t finish.
Marco’s key save changed the dynamic of the first half.
“Anytime your goalkeeper makes a big save it’s a big deal,” Veach said. “It just puts a little bit of energy in you. It’s a great save and then those (scoring) moments are coming. We know those moments are coming. We know the way that we play against any side — it doesn’t matter who we are playing — we are going to create those moments and finish those chances.”
The Knights responded later in the second half when midfielder Jason Kim made an excellent play by stealing a pass before working the ball downfield and creating enough space to get off a shot. He blasted a low bouncing shot past Marco’s outstretched arms and pulled Kamiak to within one goal.
Neither team created too many second-half chances, but Glacier Peak seemingly put the game out of reach in the 64th minute when Roberge fed Johnston a through ball that Johnston collected and sent flying past Gary to give the Grizzlies a 3-1 lead late.
“We started off (the season) a little slow, but we’ve changed our formation, put people in different spots and chemistry is starting to come together,” Johnston said,” and we are really starting to play as a team.”