PUYALLUP — Snohomish boys soccer coach Matt Raney was briefly overcome with emotion while pondering his team’s season after Saturday’s 3A state championship game at Carl Sparks Stadium.
“I measure success differently,” Raney said minutes after his team lost to Roosevelt 2-0. “I measure success by the heart of a young man, his willingness to get down on one knee to connect with a young child at eye level. I measure success by watching kids spend their spring break in Marysville helping people in need instead of being on a beach somewhere. I measure success by watching them treat their mothers, grandmothers and girlfriends with respect.
“In that regard, we had nothing but success this season.”
Sure, the Panthers would’ve liked to have won the state championship. That was their singular goal all season long. They felt as though they had the talent, experience and pedigree — they won state titles in 2014 and 2015 — to emerge on top once again.
But it wasn’t meant to be. The Rough Riders won the Metro League regular-season championship based on the play of their solid defense. Entering Saturday’s contest, they had allowed fewer than one goal per contest, with nine shutouts.
Roosevelt’s defense dominated again Saturday. Snohomish, which entered the title game with an average of 3.9 goals per contest, mustered just four shots (two on goal) and one corner kick.
“They did an excellent job of discouraging our strengths,” Raney said. “If you slow us down from scoring, you’re going to beat us. We didn’t find a rhythm early, and then it turned into a midfield battle and we got bulldozed a few times, which led to some key injuries. But we never stopped believing (we could win).”
Three Snohomish players left the game with injuries. None of them returned.
“Our defense is good because we stress it in practice,” Roosevelt coach Gary Hunter said. “Everyone knows their role. They stay together back there, and nobody goes outside their roles. The kids know what to do on defense.”
Vincent Duyungan scored the game’s first goal in the 45th minute, and Avery Jacobson added the clincher in the 80th minute.
Raney said the growth and maturity that his team displayed throughout the course of the season wasn’t limited to the soccer field.
“There’s no doubt they developed a camaraderie and a trust in each other,” he said. “As far as growth? I watched their accomplishments in the classroom, bringing up their (performance) after struggling. They solved problems on the pitch and off it. There was so much growth that I’ll have to take a deep breath to consider it all.
“When you dream big, it hurts when you fall short. But we’ll still keep chasing that dream. Chasing that dream will help them on the pitch and in life.”
Roosevelt 2, Snohomish 0
Goals: Vincent Duyungan (R), Avery Jacobson (R).