Sports

Snohomish shoots down Jefferson's season

By CASEY OLSON

Sports editor

It just wasn’t meant to be for the Thomas Jefferson soccer team.

The Raiders were ousted from the Class 4A state quarterfinals by the Snohomish Panthers, 5-4, in a penalty-kick shootout after playing 90 minutes of 1-1 soccer, including 10 minutes of sudden-death overtime.

“At the end, we have to go to a gross thing like PK’s and a couple of our boys miss and their boys made them,” said second-year Jefferson coach Darren Sawatzky. “That’s what it comes down to.”

This was the season the Raiders regained the Jefferson mystique on the soccer field. The program was the best in the state during the 1980s and early 90s, before taking a slight downturn. But this year, Sawatzky sported a roster full of experience led by senior striker Chris Sanders. In total, the Raiders started seven seniors.

“This was the year to do it,” Sawatzky said.

The shootout victory advances Snohomish to the state final four Friday and Saturday at Camas High School and also ends the chances of Federal Way schools winning the 4A soccer title three years in a row. Decatur is the defending two-time champ.

“That was the best team we’ve played this year,” said Sawatzky. “Tonight was just an end-to-end game. I would be very surprised if Snohomish doesn’t win state. I think two of the top teams in the state battled it out. But that still doesn’t take the sting away.”

Jefferson took the early lead, when Sanders headed in a corner kick off the leg of senior Ricky Getchell during the 20th minute for his 19th goal of the season.

The Raiders held that lead until the second half, when Snohomish’s Garrett Heinemann banged in a defected ball in front of the net just three minutes after halftime.

Jefferson just couldn’t get anything going offensively in the second half. Sanders was required to play back in the midfield to help out defensively and couldn’t attack the net like he had in the first half. The Raiders were actually fairly fortunate to even get to the shootout.

Senior defender Mike Montgomery made a beautiful save off a Snohomish corner kick with just 6:45 left in the game. Snohomish’s Seth Mitchell thought he had the game-winner when he struck a ball into an open net after Jefferson goalkeeper Matt Anderson deflected the corner out in front of the net. But Montgomery cleared the ball off the goalline.

This was the first time the Raiders had advanced to the state playoffs since 1999 and Jefferson’s last state title came in 1994. The Raiders have won five state championships, including four straight from 1984-87. But Snohomish also has a rich soccer history.

The Panthers won the state championship in 2000 and came into Saturday’s game as the 14th-ranked team in the United States, according to studentsports.com.

It was Heinemann who ended the game when he shot the ball into the left corner of the goal past Anderson. Jefferson’s Chris Henry and Snohomish’s Alex Siroteak both missed the first shots of the shootout before the two teams made four-straight. The Raiders’ streak ended when sophomore Brandon Sprague overshot the net, giving Heinemann the chance to win the game.

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