ANACORTES — A deflected shot found the back of the net two minutes from the end of regulation play as Sequim’s season came to a close with a 2-1 loss to Burlington-Edison in the first round of the Class 2A boys soccer state tournament.
“This was a well-fought, hard match between two really strong sides,” coach Ken Garling said.
“We knew they were going to be well organized, disciplined and able to mount an offensive attack. So we were OK with staying compact defensively and stopping them from scoring goals.”
The Tigers had the upper hand to open the game.
“BE was just on fire in that first 20 minutes, and we were absorbing the pressure,” Garling said. “They had a couple of nice runs in behind our defense and [goalkeeper] Jack Van De Wege came up huge for us. We probably should have been down 3-0 at halftime.”
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead into halftime, scoring in the 21st minute.
Wolves capitalize quickly
“Going into the second half, we wanted to stick to our game plan and stay compact and frustrate them,” Garling said. “We wanted to get higher up on the pitch with our formation, press them more, and we did.
“Thanks to our hard work on the press, Brandon Wagner was able to find Ethan Knight with a pass up along the left side of field. Ethan cut the ball in to the goalie’s right and was able to slot a goal in there, and here we were 1-1, three minutes into the second half.”
Sequim’s pressure defense led to some more offensive chances for the Wolves.
“We kept stopping them in the middle, they couldn’t get by us, our press was working well, and we were able to get on the attack and create a lot of chances. We had four or five opportunities but couldn’t finish them,” Garling said.
“Both teams were playing tough, but they scored with about a minute left in the game. They were able to get one through on a crazy deflection. Jack wasn’t able to block it. It looked like there was a scrum about 10 yards out. Wind played a role in it, was so windy up there.”
Sequim chased for a miraculous tie in the final seconds to send the game to overtime but couldn’t equalize.
“We did the best we could. We even pulled the goalkeeper out for another field player,” Garling said.
“Overall, it was a good match, credit to BE. We settled into our style of play and dictated the tempo in the second half.”
Strong senior leadership
Senior-dominated Sequim finished the season 11-8.
The squad will graduate 11 seniors: Van De Wege, Kristian Mingoy, Cristian Gonzalez, Tyler Lawson, Wagner, Knight, Rafa Flores, Brandon Charters, Harrison Bell and Aidan Henninger.
“It’s been fun to coach these boys,” Garling said. “Their leadership, their enthusiasm, their skill, the respect they have for the game and for their teammates.
“That group of boys is special. I knew when I was coaching them as freshmen, I knew they were a special group of boys. They’ve set the bar high for all of the returners and I appreciate all their hard work.”
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at [email protected] news.com.