STATE SOCCER: Kentwood hands Beamer first loss, advances to Class 4A Final Four

Kentwood's Sergio Mejia heads the ball over Beamer's Ugo Okoli and Conqueror defender Eli Peterson during a state quarterfinal game Saturday at Federal Way Memorial Stadium. Kentwood beat the top-ranked Titans, 3-2, in a penalty-kick shootout to advance to the Class 4A Final Four Friday in Lakewood.
— image credit: Casey Olson/The Mirror

The Kentwood Conquerors picked the perfect time to hand the top-ranked Todd Beamer Titans (16-1-3) their first loss of the season.

The Conks (16-1-3) outlasted Beamer, 3-2, in a penalty-kick shootout Saturday in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A state boys soccer quarterfinals at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.

Kentwood got the game-winning goal in the shootout from senior midfielder Colby Goodrich in the fifth round of shots Saturday, giving the Conquerors the somewhat surprising victory over Beamer, who beat Kentwood 10 days before in the South Puget Sound League championship game.

The win moves the seventh-ranked Conks into the state semifinals to play Eastlake, who won 3-0 over Garfield Saturday night. The Kentwood-Eastlake game will be at 6 p.m. Harry Lang Stadium in Lakewood Friday evening.

Saturday, the two teams played to a 2-2 tie after 80 minutes of regulation and 10 more of golden-goal, extra time. In the state playoffs, there cannot be any ties.

Kentwood got a huge performance from junior goalkeeper Chris Kubeja during the shootout. After Beamer's Troy Peterson led the shootout off with a goal, Kubeja made a huge save on a shot by Austin Sweeney in the second round and Keaton House followed with a shot over the crossbar in the third round.

Kentwood, on the other hand, got three-straight goals from Stefan Bangsund, Jose Castro and Cody Crook to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the penalty-kick shootout.

Beamer goalkeeper Nick Bod gave the Titans a chance by saving a shot by Jared Fuller, but Goodrich ended the suspense by depositing a shot into the right side of the goal, igniting a big-time Conqueror celebration.

Kentwood had a seemingly comfortable 2-0 lead after goals by Matt Day in the 11th minute and Tim Denby in the 27th minute. Denby's goal came after a long ball was sent down the left sideline that squirted by a Beamer defender. Denby then took a centering pass on his left foot and put it past Bod to give Kentwood a commanding 2-0 advantage.

The score could have easily been 3-0. The Conquerors had a goal waved off with 18:26 remaining in the first half because of a push-off in the box.

But, following the second Kentwood goal, the talented Titans' offense, led by a pair of Division-I signees, really took over control of the game.

Beamer striker Ugo Okoli cut the Conqueror lead in half with 9:01 left in the first half when he knifed his way through the right side of the Kentwood defense and deposited a left foot off Kubeja and into the left side of the goal. Okoli has already inked with Wake Forest University and has played several games with the United States under-18 Men's National Team.

Despite numerous more opportunities during the remainder of the first half and a bulk of the second half, the Titan offense couldn't unlock the Conqueror defense until tying the game with just 6:08 left in the game.

After a short throw-in on the sideline, Brandon Brockway sent a perfect centering pass to Troy Peterson, who bounced a right foot into the goal to knot the score at 2-2. Peterson will play next year at the College of Charleston.

Saturday's rematch between Beamer and Kentwood came a week and a half after the two teams played in the SPSL championship game, also at Federal Way Memorial Stadium. The Titans went unbeaten in the South Division and the Conks didn't lose in North Division play.

Beamer won a hard-fought 1-0 game to earn the league's top seed into the district tournament and the right to host the rematch with the Conks.


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