Edmonds-Woodway players celebrate during a game between Edmonds-Woodway and Mead at Edmonds-Wooday High School in Edmonds, Washington on Friday, May 19, 2023. Edmonds-Woodway won, 2-0. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Edmonds-Woodway players celebrate during a game between Edmonds-Woodway and Mead at Edmonds-Wooday High School in Edmonds, Washington on Friday, May 19, 2023. Edmonds-Woodway won, 2-0. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Warriors land late blow, advance in state soccer

Isaac Parreno and Ben Hanson lead Edmonds-Woodway past Mead 2-0 in the round of 16.

EDMONDS — The Edmonds-Woodway High School boys soccer team was against the ropes. But like a heavyweight champion, the Warriors refused to go down, and at the end the duo of Isaac Parreno and Ben Hanson delivered the knockout blow.

The senior forwards each scored and set up a goal in the final 10 minutes, and the Warriors found their second wind to defeat the Mead Panthers 2-0 Friday night in the Class 3A state boys soccer tournament at Edmonds District Stadium.

“This feels great,” said Edmonds -Woodway goalkeeper Gabriel Wilhelm, who played an important role in the victory. “We were here last year and we went out pretty hard (in a 4-0 loss to Lakeside in the state round of 16), so it’s great to be here today.

“I think we fought hard at the end,” Wilhelm added. “It was a little bit of a rough game in the middle, but at the end we really fought hard and did what we always do.”

After spending much of the second half pinned back by the Panthers, Edmonds-Woodway landed a counterpunch in the 70th minute when Parreno willed his way to a goal to break the scoreless deadlock. Six minutes later Hanson put the game away as the third-seeded Warriors (17-1-2) advanced to the quarterfinals, where they face No. 12 Southridge at 3 p.m. Saturday back at Edmonds District Stadium — the Suns upset fifth-seeded Silas 2-1 in penalty kicks in the preceding game.

“That was a battle, Mead came to play,” Edmonds-Woodway coach Jason Hanson said. “We kind of figured being in the state tournament that every team we play is coming from an excellent season and they’re ready to win. Mead came all the way from across the state to play and they weren’t going to go down easy.”

The 13-seeded Panthers finished their season 14-4-2.

For the first 30 minutes of the second half Mead seemed the likelier team to score. The Panthers had a goal ruled out for offsides, had two shots from good positions miss the target, and Wilhelm got the barest fingertip on a shot that came back off the post. The Warriors appeared to be hanging on by a thread.

But it all changed in the 70th minute. Ben Hanson threaded a diagonal pass across the Mead penalty box toward the left post. Parreno dug deep into his energy reserves to outfight his defender to the ball, then prodded it past Mead goalie Jackson Havens to give the Warriors the lead and send the large contingent of Edmonds-Woodway fans into a frenzy.

“Yeah, I just wanted it more,” Parreno said.” I was right in front of the defender and I knew I was ready.

“It was amazing,” Parreno added about the feeling of scoring that goal. “I heard the whole crowd and I got a little ring in my ears with all the crowd noise.”

The Warriors, rather than going into a protective shell to protect the lead, kept buzzing. Parreno had a rebound goal disallowed two minutes later because of an infraction, but Edmonds-Woodway still got the all-important insurance goal in the 76th minute. This time it was Parreno who set up Ben Hanson, winning the ball in a 50-50 duel at the edge of the Mead penalty box and playing it left to an open Hanson, who slotted past Havens to seal the victory.

“One of our mantras as a team is that we play for all 80 minutes,” Jason Hanson said. “We’ve had tight games going into the second half. I think the guys just believe one way or another in the final 40 we’re going to pull it out. We’ve worn some teams down this year, so I think this was just a case where we kind of willed our way to another victory late in the game.”

The Warriors were indebted to Wilhelm for making it to halftime scoreless. Although the first half was evenly played, Mead was able to carve out the better scoring chances. First, in the fifth minute the Edmonds-Woodway defense got caught wrong-footed, allowing Wes Starley a free run at goal. However, Wilhelm made a sprawling save to deny Starley’s shot. Then in the 27th minute Taj Willard’s shot from outside the penalty box on the left appeared to be dipping under the crossbar, but Wilhelm made a tremendous fingertip save to tip the ball over the bar and keep it 0-0 heading into the second half.

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