MARYSVILLE — As the Marysville Pilchuck boys soccer team celebrated a repeat conference title in front of its home fans on the far sideline of Quil Ceda Stadium, one player held a boombox with blaring rap music.
The song choice was fitting: “Back to Back” by Drake.
The Tomahawks, after all, are now back-to-back league champions.
Randy Galvan scored a goal and assisted four more as Marysville Pilchuck clinched its second consecutive Wesco 3A/2A crown with a 5-1 rout of visiting Everett on Friday night.
“It’s a great feeling,” Galvan said. “(We) put in a lot of hard work. … And when you work hard, you get stuff that you deserve. And I feel like we deserve this league.”
The victory pushed the Tomahawks to 34 points, which gave them a four-point lead atop the Wesco 3A/2A standings over second-place Shorewood with just one conference match remaining for both teams.
After the final whistle sounded and the never-in-doubt outcome was official, Marysville Pilchuck players doused coach Paul Bartley with a bucket of ice water.
“At the beginning of the season, I told them that this year’s team was better than last year’s team,” Bartley said, “and I challenged them to do what they did last year.”
The Tomahawks graduated six starters from last season’s league-championship squad, including leading scorer Daniel Amador. But others stepped in and filled the voids this spring, as Marysville Pilchuck (13-1-1 overall, 11-1-1 Wesco 3A/2A) earned a repeat title with a team-centered approach and consistently strong play at all levels of the pitch.
“We’re a family, and I think that’s what matters the most when we play with each other,” Tomahawks senior Kyle Matson said. “It’s more of a brotherhood, rather than teammates. … That’s a big positive about us, and that’s what makes us so good.”
The Tomahawks have scored 44 goals in 15 matches — an average of 2.9 per contest. Matson has a team-high 15 goals, followed by Galvan with 10 and freshman Ashton Wolff with eight. Ten different Marysville Pilchuck players have found the back of the net this season.
With defenses often keying on Galvan, the senior forward has developed into more of a distributor. That was certainly the case Friday during his four-assist performance.
“He’s just as happy giving assists as scoring goals, and it makes him a much better player,” Bartley said. “Teams have come out and doubled him and stuff, and when he starts (both) dealing and trying to score, it … opens it up for everybody else.
“We’re selfless,” Bartley added. “(We) don’t care who scores. It makes me really proud the way that we play.”
The Tomahawks’ defense has been similarly impressive, with senior goalkeeper Eric Ibanez anchoring a unit that’s allowed just 10 goals all season.
Marysville Pilchuck has posted seven shutouts and limited opponents to one goal or less in all but two matches. The Tomahawks haven’t yielded more than two goals in a match all season.
“He keeps that defensive line nice and structured,” Matson said of Ibanez. “No one gets through. And if they do, it’s by luck.”
It’s been a dominant two-year reign atop Wesco 3A/2A for the Tomahawks, who have gone a combined 22-2-1 in conference play over the past two seasons.
Bartley said a key staple of the program’s recent success came from a team trip to a Seattle Sounders practice four years ago. That Marysville Pilchuck team was struck by the Sounders’ effort and intensity, and it helped pave the way for a competitive practice culture within the Tomahawks’ program.
“We came back from that and the captains that year said, ‘We’re not going to make excuses — we’re going to practice as hard as we play,’” Bartley said. “And if you come out and watch one of our practices, we’re going at game speed. … (We) get after it.”
Marysville Pilchuck controlled Friday’s match from the get-go, rolling past Everett (3-9-3, 2-8-3) with a thoroughly dominant performance.
Leo Jaramillo put the Tomahawks on the board with a sixth-minute goal. Matson and Luis Galvan followed with two more scores in quick succession, giving Marysville Pilchuck a 3-0 lead by the 26th minute. Randy Galvan added a 41st-minute strike and Alden Dufour headed in a 61st-minute goal for a 5-0 lead.
Everett scored in the waning moments of second-half stoppage time, but it did nothing to spoil the back-to-back league champions’ post-match celebration.
Yet while the Tomahawks relished in their repeat title, they also realized the unfinished business that lies ahead. For all of last year’s success, that season ended in disappointing fashion after a 1-2 showing in the district tournament left them two wins short of state.
Marysville Pilchuck is eyeing a deeper postseason run this time, as the program aims for its first state berth since 2014.
“I think that we put so much effort into winning the league last year that we kind of lost the big picture of what we’re really trying to do,” Bartley said. “This year, they know that winning the league is great — but (that) if you don’t do the next step, then it doesn’t really mean that much.”