Decatur, TJ still alive

Following Wednesday’s 1-0 overtime win over Auburn Riverside, the SPSL champion Decatur soccer team heads into districts as the No. 1 seed.

Decatur (15-0-2) plays at noon today against Bellarmine Prep at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. The winner advances to the state quarterfinals.

On Wednesday, defending state champion Decatur kept its 39-game winning streak alive, even if it did take a little longer than usual.

The Gators needed a sudden-death overtime period before junior midfielder David Klein scored the game-winning goal as Decatur took down Auburn Riverside 1-0.

Klein was in the right place at the right time after a corner kick with one minute left in the first overtime period. Senior defender Will Craig’s header bounced off the cross bar and Klein was there to follow it up with his own header for a goal.

The game wasn’t quite as close as the score would indicate, as Auburn Riverside didn’t have any shots directly on goal. Decatur sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Bressler was relativley unchallenged as he earned the shutout.

Conversely, Decatur had plenty of opportunities that were always thwarted by Auburn Riverside’s goalkeeper Chris Eylander, who plays on a club team with many of the Decatur players. Eylander is headed to the University of Washington on a soccer scholarship.

“He played the best game I’ve seen him play,” said Decatur defender Jason Bressler, who plays with Eylander when they aren’t on their high school teams. “He was on fire. We had countless shots, pounding their net. We just couldn’t put it in the back of the net.

“We didn’t want it to go into a shootout, especially with the way he was playing,” Bressler said. “Plus, he’s played with us so long he knows which way we’re going to shoot.”

Kentwood 2, Jefferson 1

Two headers, two goals.

That’s all it took for the Kentwood soccer team to make a second-half comeback and beat Jefferson 2-1 in overtime Wednesday at French Field.

Kentwood made the most of the only two shots it had after halftime, scoring on each of them.

“The guys played their guts out,” said Jefferson coach Darren Sawatzky. “I’m definitely proud of them.”

Jefferson, which is the No. 4 seed out of the SPSL, plays at 4 p.m. today in a loser-out game against Evergreen in Vancouver. Evergreen is the No. 1 seed from the Southwest District.

In Wednesday’s game, Jefferson scored the first goal at the 21-minute mark when Chris Sanders converted a penalty kick. Ricky Getchell earned the penalty kick for the Raiders when he was tripped up as he cut across in front of the goal.

In the first half, Jefferson had five shots on goal to Kentwood’s three. But the Raiders didn’t have any corner kicks as Kentwood tallied five.

In the second half, Sanders was moved from his forward position to a defensive position. It worked, as Kentwood didn’t manage a shot on goal until four minutes left in the game. But Jefferson also lacked offense.

Kentwood tied the game at the 76-minute mark when senior Jeremy Walker beat his defender to the ball and headed it in for a goal.

The game was scoreless through the first five minutes of sudden-death overtime. With less than two minutes left in the second overtime, Kentwood senior Cam Weaver worked his way open at the far post and headed in the winning goal off a long throw-in from senior forward Anthony Melchoir.

“They were bigger than us and got their head on the ball,” Sawatzky said. “Not having Travis Morrow because of his red card suspension from the last game really hurt us.”

“We worked hard, that’s what I can say about my boys,” Sanders said. “Unlucky.”

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