MARYSVILLE — Touting 12 seniors and a wealth of talent at all three levels, Marysville Pilchuck coach Paul Bartley knew the potential of this Tomahawks team.
The realization of just how good Pilchuck could be came two weeks into the spring campaign. Against Wesco powerhouse Snohomish, the Tomahawks put together a dominating performance in a six-goal shutout.
“I think the kids knew they were going to have a good season, but that game was kind of an eye-opener,” Bartley said. “They believed a lot more in themselves once that game was over.”
Ten games and eight wins later, Marysville Pilchuck stood atop the league table as Wesco 3A champions for the first time in program history.
“I’m still kind of soaking it in,” said Bartley, fittingly before being doused first by a Gatorade cooler and then by water bottles. “You could see last year we had a good squad. Going into this season I thought we could be one of the top four teams. It jelled out a lot faster than I thought it would. They really work hard in practice, and they like to have fun.”
Against Arlington on Tuesday night in MP’s regular-season finale, the Tomahawks showcased the many aspects that make them so dangerous in a 3-2 win at Quil Ceda Stadium.
Pilchuck leading goal-scorer Daniel Amador scored twice, and the Tomahawks backline — led by Nain Galvin, Davis Magee, Kenton Lien and Jason Loop — after allowing only 12 goals all year, put together another strong performance.
“We can all contribute and play everywhere, and that is what I think makes us special,” Amador said. “Before the season started I felt like we had a great chemistry as friends outside of the game. When it’s a 1-1 game, and it’s a scuffle at the end, you just start playing for each other and you work harder than everyone.”
The league title gave Marysville Pilchuck (13-1-1, 11-1-0 Wesco 3A) the 3A District tournament’s top seed. The Tomahawks will open the tournament against a play-in game winner at 7 p.m. Saturday at Quil Ceda Stadium.
Amador put the Tomahawks in front 1-0 in the 23rd minute off a free kick. The senior, shooting from just beyond the left corner of the 18-yard box, curled a shot in front of goal. He got help from his teammates, who created traffic in front of the net, disrupting Arlington goalkeeper Glen Hester’s view. Hester stopped the shot, but not before the ball crossed the scoreline.
The goal gave Amador a team-leading 15th for the season.
That number didn’t last long. Eleven minutes later an impressive individual effort gave Amador No. 16 and extended MP’s lead to 2-0.
Amador received a long lead pass and had a one-on-one opportunity to win the ball against an Arlington defender. The senior redirected the ball back to the inside with a clever toe tap, beating the defender and setting himself up with a one-on-one with Hester. Amador calmly blasted a shot into the back of the net from 10 yards out to send the Tomahawks into halftime up by two goals.
Arlington’s Juan Castillo breathed a bit of life in the Eagles’ attack with a goal in the 59th minute, trimming the deficit to 2-1. Quickly, Pilchuck pushed the lead back to 3-1 when Jose Lopez collected a ricochet off the far post and blasted a shot from close range into the net.
While MP left with a league championship, Castillo arguably recorded the goal of the night in the 85th minute. The freshman midfielder took one touch and ripped a shot over Marysville Pilchuck goalkeeper Eric Ibanez’s head from 25 yards out, cutting the score to 3-2.
The loss ended the season for Arlington (3-12-1, 2-9-1).
“I feel like since the start of the season we’ve had a great potential,” MP junior midfielder Randy Galvin said. “We just brought it all together this season and got first place, and it feels great.”