In an ordinary year, being eliminated in the first round of the state playoffs would indicate a nice, but unspectacular season.
For the Olympia High School boys soccer team, it’s 4-0 loss to Kamiak in the first round of the Class 4A state tournament Tuesday night at Ingersoll Stadium was the end of a 2017 season that stands alone.
Playing for the memory of former assistant coach Austin Kelly, who passed away last summer, the Bears rallied from a 4-10-2 regular season record to win the West Central District championship and a number one seed into the first round of state.
“The run this team made will be a part of Olympia soccer for generations to come,” said Bears head coach Ty Johnson. “The will and desire and the heart that these players showed to come back from a season that, on paper, looked like it wasn’t successful was amazing.”
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The Bears fell behind 3-0 by halftime, but came back in the second half to outshoot the Knights after intermission, 9-6, and have more corner kicks for the game, 7-2, but couldn’t find the net.
Kamiak took a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute when Manuel Segura found Soren Pehlivanian right in front of the net with a corner kick. Pehlivanian headed the ball past Bears’ goalkeeper Mateo Delguidice.
“They came out and got an early goal and basically dictated play,” said Johnson. “Our team had given up one goal in the last six games. We haven’t been used to playing from behind for quite a while. We were just a little bit stunned.”
The Knights extended their lead to 2-0 in the 16th minute when Andre’ Hamilton took a long pass from the Kamiak defensive end and went one-on-one to score just inside the left post.
The onslaught continued at the 22 minute mark when Delguidice came out to challenge another breakaway try by Kamiak and was called for a foul in the box as he reached with his hand to try to take the ball off Hamilton’s foot, tripping him instead. Jason Kim blasted the penalty kick to the left of Delguidice and into the net.
Olympia’s first chance to score came on in the 32nd minute. Khalil Bredeson blasted a free kick from 36 yards straight in front the goal, but Knights’ goalkeeper Jesus Gary was in the right spot to catch the drive.
The Bears threatened again just before halftime when Gary repelled a flurry of three shots, two by Huitzil Fuller and one by Adam Rapacz.
Olympia maintained its newfound pressure to start the second half and got a pair of near misses, one on a shot by Bredeson that just missed outside the left post, the other on a header by Dewit Kiley that sailed just over the crossbar.
But Kamiak added an insurance goal on a sharp bit of ball movement in the 66th minute. Hamilton went on a long run down the left sideline, then sent a cross over to Pehlivanian at the top of the box on the right side, drawing Delguidice’s attention. Pehlivanian slid the ball to Noah Venditto in the middle of the field and he put the ball into the net from 15 yards out.
The Bears finish their season 7-11-2 while Kamiak moves on to the state quarterfinals with a 12-5-2 mark.