Jackson boys claim 1st state soccer berth since 2011

The Timberwolves roll past Eastlake 4-0 and into the Wes-King bi-district title game.

EVERETT — Jackson has checked off one accomplishment after another during its remarkable season.

The Timberwolves earned an outright Wesco 4A title, they’re over the 50-goals scored mark and have posted more than 10 shutouts. Jackson added another achievement Tuesday night in a Wes-King 4A District Tournament game against Eastlake.

In a game dominated from beginning to end, the Timberwolves claimed their first state tournament berth since 2011 and their fourth in program history with a 4-0 win at Everett Memorial Stadium.

And while Jackson (15-1-1), a team seemingly destined to capture a state berth, briefly celebrated the win, its using the district tournament as a measuring stick against top KingCo competition.

“I think it just feels good to beat a team from KingCo that is known as one of the best leagues in the state,” said senior forward Kevin Giessler, who alluded to Wesco’s historically poor record against KingCo teams. “Beating a KingCo team is very important, and now we know we will have more respect from all the teams.”

Jackson will get another big test against a KingCo power when it travels to face Mount Si next for the district title at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

“I’m never satisfied, and now I want to host both (state tournament) games,” said first year Jackson boys coach Sarah Smart. “We were probably going to make it to state, because there are five spots (in districts), but are we good enough to win state? Mount Si on the road will be a huge test. If we beat Mount Si, I don’t know what else we can’t do.”

Jackson has leaned on an array of scorers and its stingy defense all year. On Tuesday, Giessler took over on offense, and the Timberwolves’ defense posted its 11th shutout of the year.

Giessler finished with two goals and an assist, while Jake Williams and Michael Hatcher added second-half goals.

“I’m a senior on the team, and I am the captain so I’m supposed to lead,” Giessler said, “and that gives me more confidence in myself to put in an example for the rest of the team and lead them from the beginning.”

Giessler wasted no time giving the T-wolves a quick 1-0 advantage.

On a change of possession, an Eastlake defender made a critical turnover without help behind him, and Giessler capitalized. The senior captain broke free with the ball and only Eastlake keeper Josh Dion to beat. Giessler, from 15 yards out, beat Dion with a low shot that found the bottom-right corner of the net.

Giessler extend Jackson’s lead with a brilliant strike in the 28th minute.

After drawing a foul with some nifty footwork deep in Eastlake’s end, Giessler lined up 25 yards out for a free kick near the stadium turf’s left hash. The Jackson senior curled a shot around the left side of the Wolves’ wall, tucking the ball just inside the near post past the outstretched arms of Dion.

“Wow, that was a beautiful goal,” Smart said. “(Giessler) is such a great player and is so competitive and driven. You see him with the ball, and it’s just glued to his foot, and he’s so smart with it.”

Jackson added to its lead in the second half, but not before goalkeeper Justin Huttinger made a crucial save on a penalty kick to prevent Eastlake from tightening the score.

Hatcher, in the 45th minute, was called for a foul in the 18-yard box as he tried cutting off an Eastlake forward’s angle on goal. But Huttinger picked his teammate up, diving to his left to block the PK attempt off the foot of Eastlake’s Cole Langston.

Six minutes later, Hatcher extended the T-wolves’ lead to 3-0 with a header from close range off a corner kick from Giessler.

Williams capped the night with a goal off an assist from Minhyok Kim, sealing the 4-0 victory and Jackson’s place in the district tournament title game.

“We can’t get too high-headed,” Giessler said. “Even though we have been on a run, we still need to be humble. There are other good teams from other districts.”

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