TJ breezes past Eagles

The Jefferson soccer team continued its five-game winning streak with a 5-1 victory over Federal Way Friday at Federal Way Memorial Field.

“Pretty much from the opening whistle, we took it to them,” said Jefferson coach Darren Sawatzky. “Right now we’re hitting on all cylinders and that’s important considering the playoffs are coming up.”

Jefferson (9-2-2) is in third place in the South Puget Sound League, South Division with two regular season games remaining. It plays against Rogers at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Federal Way Memorial Field. The Raiders then take on second-place Curtis at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Federal Way Memorial Field.

Both games will have a potential impact on playoff standings.

Jefferson beat Rogers 2-1 when the teams played on April 16. Jefferson lost to Curtis 1-0 when the teams played earlier this season on April 2.

If Curtis loses its remaining games, Jeferson could overtake the Vikings for second place in the standings. Otherwise, Jefferson will enter the playoffs as the third seed out of the SPSL South.

“New coach Darren Sawatzky is a tremendous asset to their team,” Federal Way coach John Heimbigner said. “They’re more mature this year. Last year they were a younger team that had the skill, it just took them a year to mature. Right now they’re looking very good. They’re definitely a threat when it comes playoff time.”

In its past three games, Jefferson has won by an average of more than four goals per game. That’s allowed Sawatzky to give younger team members a chance to play.

“I like to keep the guys who are playing well in the starting lineup. But in the past few games, everybody gets to play,” Sawatzky said. “Our freshmen get a lot of minutes and that bodes well for the future.”

On Friday, Federal Way senior Kevin Popich scored the lone goal for the Eagles — a 35-yard blast on a direct kick that snuck into the upper corner of the goal.

“Popich hit the goal of the year,” Sawatzky said. “It was a bomb.”

It was senior night for Federal Way (3-10), which will lose Popich, Ryan Davis, Jackson Dovey and Derek Chan. Popich and Davis were four-year starters. Chan was a three-year letterman and Dovey played on the varsity team for two years.

“We’ll miss the leadership Ryan and Kevin have for the team,” Heimbigner said. “They’re playing ability in goal and in the field is second to none. They raise the level of all their teammates to the highest they can play. Their personality is always welcome. They’re very positive kids and they always have a smile on their face.”

Federal Way has two games left on its schedule.

“Both are road games, but I feel they are winable games,” Heimbigner said. “If we come with our A game, we can win. We’re a very up and down team. When we’re focused and come to play, we can definitely challenge any team in this league. We’ve just been overmatched size-wise and experience- wise. I’m happy with the way the kids are playing. They’re showing signs of improving.”

Decatur 3, Bethel 1

The first-place Gators (12-0-2) kept their winning streak alive with a 3-1 win over Bethel on Friday.

Decatur plays second-place Curtis at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Curtis.

Decatur came from behind to beat Curtis 3-2 when the teams played on April 17.

The Gators end the regular season with a 3:30 p.m. game on Saturday against Puyallup at Sparks Stadium.

The South Puget Sound League soccer playoffs start May 8.

Friday was also senior night for Decatur. The Gators will graduate 11 players off this year’s team.

Seniors include Kile Peloza, Will Craig, Christian Scholze, Zach Norwood, Nick McCluskey, Ryan Ford, Frank Walton, Alex Chursky, Jason Bressler, Matt Baker and Justin Ross.

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