SHORELINE — After dropping its opening game as the top seed in Wesco 3A last season, Marysville Pilchuck didn’t want to go through the doldrums of advancing through the loser’s bracket again.
The Tomahawks left little doubt on Tuesday night, as top-seeded Marysville Pilchuck scored three first-half goals to cruise past fifth-seeded Shorecrest 3-1 and clinched its first state berth since 2014.
“For some reason, in shootouts and a lot of different ways, we’ve lost in the first round and had to go through the (loser’s bracket),” Tomahawks head coach Paul Bartley said. “To get it done in two games, it was huge.”
Marysville Pilchuck will take on Meadowdale on Saturday at Shoreline Stadium for the 3A district championship.
Despite being crowned the Wesco 3A champs last season, the Tomahawks went 1-2 in districts in an earlier-than-anticipated exit. The state-clinching victory allows the Tomahawks to relax.
An explosive first half allowed everyone to take a deep breath.
Senior forward Randy Galvan scored in the fourth minute to provide Marysville Pilchuck an early lead, then senior midfielder Alden Dufour buried a penalty kick to tack an another goal in the 20th minute.
Junior midfielder Victor Aguilar scored on a ball that was floating right along the goal line after some chaos in the box to put the Tomahawks up three goals at halftime.
“Our counter attack is our thing and we have a great defense,” Bartley said. “We were trying to score as early as possible, which we did, so they would have to attack with more numbers and become more vulnerable.”
Marysville Pilchuck was able to score a flurry of early goals despite being without Kyle Matson, who was out for an undisclosed reason, but according to Bartley, there’s a strong chance he’s back for Saturday’s tilt with Meadowdale.
Shorecrest was able to press and generate chances, forcing Tomahawks goalkepper Eric Ibanez into making a number of difficult saves.
Scots freshman Gavin Vandenberg netted a goal in the 55th minutes to end the shutout, but that’s all Shorecrest could muster.
Shorecrest will take on Snohomish, which recieved a hat trick from Eli Esterley in a 3-0 drubbing of Shorewood in a loser-out game on Tuesday, in a winner-to-state, loser-out game on Thursday.