Decatur, TJ share SPSL South title


Sports editor

The Decatur and Jefferson soccer teams can both lay claim to the South Puget Sound League South Division regular season championship. Both finished with identical 7-1-1 league records.

Jefferson picked up a huge 1-1 tie against Curtis in both teams’ season finale Friday night in University Place. Decatur easily beat Rogers, 3-1, Friday in their final game.

The Gators, however, get the nod as the league’s No. 1 seed into tonight’s SPSL Tournament because they beat Jefferson, 1-0, April 7 in their only meeting during the regular season. The Raiders will be the league’s No. 2 seed.

“This is when things get fun,” said Jefferson coach Darren Sawatzky. “It’s the playoffs and anything can happen.”

But Decatur and Jefferson won’t be the only Federal Way school district soccer teams making an appearance in the postseason. First-year Todd Beamer got a very solid 2-1 win over Federal Way Friday night to halt a four-game losing streak and snag fourth place in the South with a 5-4-0 record. The Titans will take on Auburn Riverside in a loser-out match at 6 p.m. at French Field in Kent tonight. Riverside finished fourth in the North with a 3-3-2 record. The winner of the game will be the seventh seed from the SPSL into the West Central/Southwest District Playoffs, which start Saturday and play the Narrows League champion at Curtis High School at noon.

Decatur will take on Tahoma, the winner of the SPSL North at 8 p.m. tonight at Curtis High School for the 19-team league championship and the No. 1 seed into the district playoffs.

“It’s huge to get one of those top seedings,” said Decatur coach Jimmy McAlister. “That’s just the way it is. We are not the type of team who can show up and win. We have to be prepared every game. We got a good seed.”

Tahoma finished 7-1 in league play, losing to Auburn 1-0, and 13-3 overall. The winner of the Decatur-Tahoma match will play the No. 3 finisher from the Greater St. Helen’s League Saturday at Sumner High School at noon. The loser will play the No. 6 team from the Narrows League at 2 p.m.

Jefferson, the defending SPSL champions, will open its postseason against the Kentridge Chargers at 8 p.m. at French Field tonight. Kentridge was the second-place finisher in the North with a 4-1-3 record.

Against Curtis Friday night, Jefferson’s lone goal came from an unlikely source. Aaron Nistrian found the back of the net in the 11th minute to give the Raiders an early 1-0 lead on his first goal of the season, which is how the score stayed until after halftime. Nistrian had been out a bulk of the season with an injury. Curtis’ Glenn Allen tallied an unassisted goal in the 63rd minute to tie the game.

“We should have won the game,” Sawatzky said. “We just didn’t finish our chances.”

Friday’s tie was a little more painful for Curtis. The Vikings would have had a very good chance at taking the SPSL South title outright, but didn’t show up on time to a 5:30 p.m. May 4 game against Federal Way for the second year in a row and were forced to forfeit. The loss is the only blemish on their record and dropped them from first all the way to third in the South.

Jefferson finished the regular season with a 12-2-2 record.

Decatur’s 3-1 win over Rogers was the Ciaran O’Brien show Friday night. O’Brien, a sophomore, tallied his first hat trick of the season. He scored in the 10th, 37th and 65th minutes of the match. Rogers’ only goal came from Anthony Dew in the 23rd minute.

Beamer’s 2-1 win ended Federal Way’s season Friday night. The Eagles wound up the season under Jason Baumgardt with a 2-4-2 record in the SPSL South and 3-10-2 overall.

Beamer’s Payton Lane scored the first goal of the game in the 25th minute on a pass from Tyler Brigham and it stayed 1-0 until after halftime. Federal Way’s Stephen Russell tied the game with a goal in the 51st minute, but Brigham scored the game-winner in the 65th minute on a pass from Sean Davis.

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