Snohomish tops E-W in battle of 3A boys soccer contenders

The Panthers score twice off set pieces and beat the Warriors 2-1 to move into 2nd place in Wesco 3A.

EDMONDS — The Snohomish boys soccer team created a number of promising scoring chances in the run of play.

But it was off a pair of set pieces that the Panthers found the net.

Angus Read and Eli Esterly scored off long throw-ins to give visiting Snohomish a 2-1 win over Edmonds-Woodway in a matchup of Wesco 3A title contenders Friday night at Edmonds Stadium.

“(The players) executed our game plan perfectly,” Panthers coach Matt Raney said. “And both goals were a great example of that — executing the movements that we want to create the space in behind for the ball.

“Things aren’t coming as easy for us this year, so we’re having to rely on some of these set-piece opportunities to capitalize.”

With the victory, Snohomish moved into second place in Wesco 3A with 22 points. The Panthers (8-3-1 overall, 7-1-1 Wesco 3A) trail first-place Marysville Pilchuck by two points, with three league matches to play for both teams.

Edmonds-Woodway (10-3-0, 7-2-0) fell into a third-place tie with Shorewood at 21 points. It was just the Warriors’ second loss in their last 11 matches.

Snohomish, which graduated five all-conference players from last year’s Class 3A state runner-up team, has won six of its last seven matches and hasn’t lost since a 6-0 defeat to Marysville Pilchuck on March 27.

“It took us a while to get our sea legs,” Raney said. “But now that we’ve got them, look out.

“We don’t have those same weapons this year, so these guys are growing more and more comfortable with playing a tight match like this,” he added. “This type of team can go all the way, because they can hold a 1-0 or 2-1 lead.”

Edmonds-Woodway struck first on a seventh-minute goal by senior Jackson Karr. After receiving a pass just outside the left hash marks, Karr fired a 15-yard low liner past diving Snohomish goalkeeper Michael Herrera’s outstretched arms and into the right portion of the net for a 1-0 Warriors lead.

Snohomish evened the score 10 minutes later off a long, corner throw-in into the box from senior Conner Smith. Adam Kowalchyk leaped for the header and flicked the ball toward the far-right post, where Read tapped it in for a 17th-minute equalizer.

“This team was looking for a spark,” Raney said. “When we spark, we come alive. Getting scored on was that spark for us tonight. … And our guys were absolutely determined to respond.”

Eight minutes into the second half, the Panthers scored off another long throw-in.

After Smith tossed the ball into the box from the right sideline, sophomore midfielder Esterly headed it inside the left post for a 2-1 Snohomish lead.

“It’s wonderful for these guys to get a taste of what hard work and discipline in training will equal in matches,” Raney said. “And that’s happening. They’re executing exactly the way we’re training.”

Snohomish had several dangerous scoring chances later in the second half, including an Owen Fieldler free kick that rattled off the crossbar.

Edmonds-Woodway earned a pair of corner kicks in stoppage time, but couldn’t muster a late equalizer.

“This was a big test for us tonight,” Raney said. “I like where we’re at right now coming down the stretch.”

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