Sports

STATE SOCCER: Kentwood up next for top-ranked Titans in quarterfinals; TJ, Decatur lose openers

Todd Beamer senior forward Ugo Okoli goes after the ball during the Titans
Todd Beamer senior forward Ugo Okoli goes after the ball during the Titans' 4-0 win over the Tahoma Bears in the opening round of the Class 4A State Boys Soccer Tournament Tuesday at Federal Way Memorial Stadium. Okoli is the Titans' leading scorer with 24 goals this season.
— image credit: Casey Olson/The Mirror

The Todd Beamer Titans soccer team isn't looking to make any statements with their play. The Titans (16-0-3) are just focused on a singular goal this year — winning a state championship.

There's no question that top-ranked Beamer has the star power to accomplish that goal. Its roster features three Division-I recruits and a total of five players from the prestigious Seattle Sounders FC Academy.

But the Titans have never been able to put it together in the state tournament. A similar Beamer team was blown out, 5-1, by Federal Way in the  state quarterfinals last year. The loss was the last time the Titans' tasted defeat.

Beamer looked exactly like the team to beat Tuesday night in the opening round of the 2011 Class 4A State Boys Soccer Tournament. The Titans pounded Tahoma at Federal Way Memorial Stadium, 4-0.

The victory earned Beamer another trip to the state quarterfinals, where they will face the Kentwood Conquerors at 3 p.m. at Federal Way Memorial Stadium. The two teams played last week in the SPSL championship game, which the Titans won 1-0.

"Ever since we were freshman, we came in and wanted to win a state championship," said senior Troy Peterson, who has already signed with the College of Charleston. "We have our eyes set on winning the state title."

Beamer ended the drama early against Tahoma, who finished third in the SPSL North. Senior defender Brandon Brockway tallied the first of his two goals just over five minutes into the game.

A corner kick from Austin Sweeney found Kelvin Horne in front of the net, but Horne's shot ricocheted off the crossbar and right to Brockway, who buried the right-footer in the back of the net.

"We wanted to come out early and score," said Brockway, who has inked with Oregon State. "We are the No. 1 team in the state and we knew if we put in a goal early, it would discourage them."

That's exactly what happened.

Beamer's second goal was a thing of beauty. The Titans' leading scorer, Ugo Okoli, connected with Peterson on a perfect crossing pass with 15:11 left in the first half. Peterson headed the Okoli assist past the Tahoma goalkeeper to give Beamer a commanding 2-0 advantage. The goal also started on a short corner from Sweeney.

"We knew that Tahoma beat Emerald Ridge coming in and we had trouble with Emerald Ridge," Peterson said. "We just wanted to come out hard."

With 12:15 remaining in the opening half, the Titans extended the lead to 3-0 with Brockway's second goal of the contest. Brockway took the ball right through the Tahoma defense and buried the shot in the right side of the net. The goal was Brockway's eighth of the season, despite being a defender.

"I try to get forward sometimes without jeopardizing the defense," said Brockway, who transferred from Stadium for his senior year. "The first goal kind of just fell to my feet and the second one, I just had a chance to get up there."

Sophomore Ike Crook finalized the score with 4:39 remaining in the first half. Crook snaked through the Bear defense unscathed and converted a perfect left foot into the net for the fourth goal.

"We just have to win," said Crook, a midfielder. "We are playing well and just have to keep it up and finish. (Tahoma) is not a bad side. We just finished our chances."

Junior goalkeeper Nick Bod notched his 11th shutout of the season and was required to make a pair of impressive saves in the first 15 minutes of the contest. Bod knocked away Mac Henderson's close-range shot in the 10th-minute and then made another save four minutes later. But that was basically all the work Bod had to do during the game.

"The first half of the year, we were just finding our lineup," Peterson said. "The last few games we have settled on a lineup and are playing our best soccer."

Kentwood (15-1-3) earned the rematch with Beamer with a 3-2 victory over second-ranked Jackson Tuesday in a penalty-kick shootout. The SPSL title game on May 11 was also played at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.

"It's huge for us," Peterson said. "We have great fans who show up. It's a huge home-field advantage."

 

In other state soccer action:

Mariner 2, Thomas Jefferson 0

The Marauders (17-3-0) ended the Raiders' season Tuesday night in the first round of the 4A State Boys Soccer Tournament. The win was Mariner's first state-playoff win in 20 years and it came over the winningest program in state history. Jefferson has won seven state titles.

The Raiders (14-3-2) fell behind in the 26th minute after Miguel Medina got a ball past TJ's goalkeeper to give the Marauders a 1-0 lead. Bogdan Nikitov added an insurance goal in the 54th minute.

Mariner will host Skyline in the state quarterfinals Saturday.

Bainbridge 7, Decatur 0

Connor Winship and Brad Olson each scored two goals as the Spartans cruised past the Decatur Gators 7-0 in the opening round of the Class 3A state tournament Tuesday night at Memorial Stadium at Bainbridge High School.

Tuesday was the Gators' first-ever appearance in the 3A tournament after the school dropped down a classification before the 2010-11 school year. Decatur won back-to-back 4A state titles in 2000 and 2001.

But Bainbridge was just too much on its home field. The Spartans' put pressure on Decatur's defense from the get-go and used their speed to get past the Gators' backline.

The Spartans bolted out to a 3-0 lead in the first half on goals from Olson, Alex Raquer and Winship.

In the second half, Bainbridge continued its dominance as Sebastian Scales made a great run into the Gators' penalty box and was brought down. Crowley put the penalty kick away for a 4-0 lead. Winship and Olson tallied their second goals later in the game and Decatur added an own goal to finalize the score.

The Gators will return a bulk of their scoring next season, including Dominique Dismuke and Nick Karis. The pair was Decatur's two leading scorers this season.

 

Class 4A State Boys Soccer Tournament

Quarterfinals

All game Saturday, May 21

Game 1: Garfield @ Eastlake, 7 p.m.

Game 2: Kentwood @ Beamer,  3 p.m.

Game 3: Skyline @ Mariner, 7 p.m.

Game 4: Chiawana @ Stadium, 2 p.m.

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