Sports

Federal Way boots its way to SPSL soccer title

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

The Federal Way soccer team likes to play the game with a little chip on its shoulder.

And the Eagles did just that Wednesday night in the championship game of the South Puget Sound League with a 3-2 shootout win over crosstown rival Beamer at Maxwell Stadium in Maple Valley. The victory gave Federal Way its first SPSL championship since 1992 and the league’s No. 1 seed into today’s West Central District Tournament.

The Eagles will take on South Kitsap, the fifth-place team from the Narrows League, at 3 p.m. at Curtis High School.

“The kids are really excited,” said head coach Jason Baumgardt. “On the same note, they continue to say they haven’t achieved anything yet.”

But Wednesday’s win will go a long way in giving the young Federal Way roster confidence heading into districts.

Senior Randal Ventura tallied the winning goal on the fourth shootout kick and the Eagles celebrated with several Federal Way fans who poured onto the field. Federal Way made all four of its penalty-kick shots during the shootout, while the Titans converted only two of four.

Beamer led off the shootout with a goal by senior midfielder Brennan Hall. But Cory Hoffman’s shot sailed over Federal Way goalkeeper Vinton Lane. Sean Davis made the Titans’ next shot before Jordan Hale’s deflected off the left post, setting the stage for Ventura’s game-clinching goal.

Wednesday’s Eagle win was basically two games rolled into one. Beamer dominated most of the play during the first 30 minutes of the first half, winning a bulk of the balls in the air. The Titans tallied the first goal on a header by freshman Erik Lissak with 10 minutes left in the opening half.

But that’s just what Federal Way needed.

“I think after giving up a goal, the kids realized they needed to dig down hard,” said Baumgardt. “Once they started doing that, we got back to playing the way we are used to.”

The Eagles dominated the rest of the first half, and junior midfielder Murphy Campbell knotted the score at 1-1 when he ripped a shot past Beamer goalkeeper T.J. Young with six minutes remaining in the first half.

Federal Way’s dominance continued in the second half when they peppered Young with shot after shot. The Eagles seemed to be headed to a 2-1 regulation win after junior Christian Munoz found the back of the net with 9:50 remaining in the second half.

But the Titans answered a little over a minute later with a goal to tie the game back up. Davis hauled in a long pass toward the goal and pooched the ball over Federal Way goalkeeper Vinton Lane from well outside the goalie box to tie the game back up at 2. It was Davis’ 18th goal on the season.

Wednesday’s loss earns the Titans another matchup with a fellow Federal Way School District team in a winner-to-state, loser-out West Central District game. Beamer will take on the Decatur Gators at 1 p.m. today at Curtis.

The Gators (9-4-3) earned the SPSL’s fifth seed Wednesday by beating Emerald Ridge, 2-1, on late goals by Josh Smith and Kevin Day in a battle between the two third-place teams from the North and South divisions at Curtis.

Puyallup 2, Jefferson 0

Sophomore forward Justin Velting scored in the 42nd minute, and junior midfielder Zach Gardner added a penalty-kick goal in the 58th minute to lift the Vikings over the Raiders at Tahoma High School on Wednesday. The game was a matchup of the two second-place teams from the SPSL North and South.

Jefferson (12-4-2) draws Gig Harbor and will play at 11 a.m. Saturday at Mount Tahoma. Gig Harbor is the third seed from the Narrows League.

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