PORT ANGELES — Sequim came tantalizingly close to taking its match with Woodland to overtime, but in the end, a post, a diving save and an overturned offsides call stopped the Wolves as they fell 3-2 to the Beavers in the Class 2A state soccer tournament Wednesday.
Woodland’s Jackson Finn, a big, strong sophomore, gave the Wolves a hard time all night at Peninsula College’s Wally Sigmar Field, scoring all three of the Beavers’ goals. Sequim got both of its goals from Ryan Tolberd, who came within a whisker of a hat trick himself.
That was the kind of match it was, decided by inches and micro-seconds.
As an example, it appeared the Wolves went up 1-0 early in the first half when a Reid Parker shot went off the far post and bounced through the goal mouth, appearing that it may have crossed the line and gone in.
Sequim was certain it had scored, but the sideline official never signaled a goal. The ball either went in or didn’t by a matter of an inch or two and unlike big-time professional soccer, there is no video review.
“It just shows every little chance you get … in the state tournament, every little thing gets accentuated,” said Wolves coach Dave Brasher.
Brasher was proud of how hard the team fought after getting down 3-1 late in the second half.
“These guys played for each other. This was the best team unit I’ve had in a long time. They played with a lot of heart. They made it fun to come to practice,” Brasher said.
Sequim finishes its year after a remarkable season, which saw the Wolves go undefeated in league and go 15-2-2 overall, with the final two losses on penalty kicks and in an incredibly close state tournament loss.
“It was the second straight game that doesn’t feel like a loss,” Brasher said. “They [Woodland] were lucky to get out of here with with a win. With a bit of luck here and there, we’d still be going.”
The Wolves did take a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute on a Tolberd goal off an Eli Gish assist on a free kick.
Sequim was dominating much of the early action with Woodland not posing much of a threat. Then the Beavers’ JJ Fuers got caught on the side of the head with a Wolves’ cleat, opening a gruesome gash in his scalp. He came off the field gushing blood (He eventually was taken to the hospital for stitches) and the injury seemed to fire up the Beavers, who started putting on the pressure.
As an example of the Wolves’ bad luck, they were seconds away from going into the halftime break up 1-0 when the Beavers knotted the game up in stoppage time when Finn got behind the Wolves’ defense and beat goalkeeper Navy Thomas-Brenske for a goal.
The game remained tied at 1-1 until the 54th minute when Finn again got behind the Wolves’ defenders and booted the ball in. The play was ruled offsides by the side official, but after a conference with the head official, the offsides was overturned and it was ruled a good goal for a 2-1 Woodland lead.
Finn picked up a hat trick when he used his speed to get behind the Sequim back line and score his third goal in the 67th minute. Moments later, Finn nearly picked up a fourth goal on a big shot from the right side of the goal that went just high and wide.
The Wolves fought back furiously after that goal, however. Tolberd had a beautiful header in the 69th minute that looked like a sure goal, but Beavers’ goalkeeper Alexis Lopez made a spectacular diving stop to his right to keep the ball out.
Eli Gish drew a penalty in the 72nd minute and the Wolves executed an incredible play. Gish kicked the ball to Adrian Funston at the right side of the net. Funston headed the ball into the middle of the penalty area directly to Tolberd, who headed the ball in for one of the most spectacular high school goals you’ll ever see.
Down 3-2, the Wolves had life with a few minutes left and came frustratingly close twice in the final minutes. Gish, who played a great all-around game, got behind the Beavers’ defense on the left side of the goal and beat Lopez with his shot. But, the ball went a foot wide of the right post.
Mathys Tanche, who was kept in check much of the match by the Beavers’ defense, had a spectacular run in stoppage time. From near midfield, he beat several Woodland defenders on his solo run and got off an absolute rocket shot off his left foot, but Lopez was in good position and was able to corral the shot.
That was essentially the Wolves’ last gasp as the game ended moments later.
Tolberd got both Sequim’s goals with Funston and Gish getting assists.
The good news for Sequim is this is still a relatively young team. The Wolves graduate Sean Weber, Tanche (who is a Belgian exchange student), Ian Parker, Brandon Benson and Rudy Franco. They return several of their star players such as Tolberd, Gish, Michael McAleer, Adrian Funston and keeper Navy Thomas-Brenske.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]