Sports

Jefferson keeps rolling;Snohomish up next

By CASEY OLSON

Sports editor

Home cookin’ was sweet for the Thomas Jefferson soccer team.

The Raiders (17-1-1) downed a solid Cascade Bruins team Tuesday night in the opening round of the Class 4A Dairy Farmers of Washington Boys Soccer Championships, 2-1 at Federal Way Memorial Field.

“The boys showed up to play,” said coach Darren Sawatzky. “It’s kind of nice to have a home-field advantage. That’s why you play the season, and we were rewarded for being the No. 1 seed.”

The win advanced the Raiders to the state quarterfinals, or final eight. Jefferson will take on the Snohomish Panthers, the champions of the WesCo South League, at 1:30 p.m. today at Federal Way Memorial Field.

“They are very good high school team,” said Sawatzky. “They have pretty much the same number of premier players as us.”

There was a change in rules following the regular season, according to Sawatzky, which allowed the Raiders to play their first two state games at Memorial Field. Before the season started, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association mandated that all postseason soccer games were going to be played on FieldTurf.

But after complaints from coaches and administrators, that rule was changed, allowing Jefferson to play on the AstroTurf field in Federal Way.

“What’s the point of being a No. 1 seed?” said Sawatzky. “We absolutely love to play at home. But I think because we are a possession team, we would probably play a little better on FieldTurf.”

Next week’s semifinal and final games will be played on FieldTurf at Doc Harris Field in Camas. The semifinals will be played at 1 and 3 p.m. Friday and the finals will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday.

The Panthers were preseason picks by most of the soccer experts across the state to win the Class 4A championship. Snohomish returned an eye-popping seven All-WesCo league players and have 13 players who tee it up with Premier-1 club teams during the high school offseason.

Despite winning the regular-season league title, the Panthers were beaten in the district championship game on May 14 by Edmonds-Woodway, 3-1. E-W was knocked out in the opening round of the state championships by Gig Harbor on their home field.

Snohomish is led by the scoring of speedy junior forward Alex Sirotak, who has tallied 10 goals this season. Sophomore Taylor Cochran also provides some offense with eight goals and two assists, and Brandon Crutchfield, a freshman, has a team-high 11 assists and has scored two goals with throw-ins.

“I’ve watched some of their kids play on club teams,” said Sawatzky. “They are solid.”

The Panthers, who have made eight consecutive state tournament appearances, were the last team not from Federal Way to win the Class 4A title. Snohomish finished the 2000 season on top before Decatur won the last two crowns.

During that 2000 season, the Panthers finished the season ranked eighth nationally and come into today’s game as the 14th-ranked team in the studentsports.com national poll.

On a rainy night last Tuesday, the Raiders jumped all over Cascade (14-3-3) early in the game. Jefferson pushed the ball into Cascade’s defensive end hard during the first nine minutes of the game –– and it paid off.

“All year we have been doing all our scoring in the second half, but this time we got to them early and held on,” Sawatzky said.

The Raiders and senior star Chris Sanders dominated the ball, which translated into a pair of early goals in the first eight-and-a-half minutes of the soccer game. The Raiders cruised the rest of the game to earn the victory.

“We didn’t really make any changes,” Sawatzky said. “Soccer is a players game and the players execute how the game is played.”

The first score came from senior speed striker Ricky Getchell.

Sanders fired a perfect crossing pass from the left edge, which Getchell headed past the left side of Cascade goalkeeper Chris Fitzgerald from about five yards out to give Jefferson the 1-0 lead just 6:28 into the game.

Two minutes later, Sanders banged a shot into the back of the net on a second chance after his first attempt was deflected by a Bruins defender.

Sanders has 18 goals and 15 assists this season.

“He is headed to (the University of) Portland for a reason,” said Sawatzky. “He draws a lot of defense.”

During the first eight minutes of the game, the Raiders pounded Fitzgerald with seven solid shots, most coming off the foot and head of Getchell, Sanders and winger Steve Mohn.

Cascade’s only goal came with 45 seconds remaining off the foot of Osric Flores to ruin Jefferson and goalkeeper Matt Anderson’s shutout.

Sports editor Casey Olson; 925-5565 sports@fedwaymirror.com

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