Sports

Beamer, Decatur, TJ bounced

By CASEY OLSON

Sports editor

It was a rough weekend for high school soccer fans in Federal Way.

Todd Beamer, Decatur and Jefferson all lost heartbreaking, one-goal games Saturday in West Central/Southwest District action. The losses ended very solid seasons for the three teams.

“It’s not very often that you don’t have a Federal Way team represented after the first round of the playoffs,” said Jefferson coach Darren Sawatzky. “But that’s the playoffs, I guess.”

The game of the day came from the most unlikely source. First-year Beamer (8-8-1) gave the Narrows League champion and undefeated Bellarmine Prep (16-0-2) all they could handle Saturday at Curtis High School. Bellarmine, one of the best soccer schools in the state, needed overtime to beat the Titans, 5-4.

“It was an absolutely amazing game,” said Beamer coach Adam Kulaas. “The most competitive high school game I have ever been a part of.”

Kulaas’ Titans were attempting to become the first team from Beamer to make an appearance in any state tournament, but Adam West’s fourth goal of the match just 1 minute, 16 seconds into the overtime session ended the Titans’ dream and the back-and-forth slugfest.

“We scored, they scored, we scored, they scored, they scored, we scored, they scored, we scored,” is how Kulaas described the action before the overtime goal.

Beamer’s Tyler Brigham tallied the first score of the match early in the first half. Bellarmine tied the game at 1-1 with their first goal before the Titans’ Ryan Nendick scored his first of three goals midway through the first half to give Beamer their only lead of the match.

Nendick’s other two goals came in the second half and both tied the game back up for the Titans. The last one happened when he trapped a crossing pass on his chest and shot the ball into the back of the net in the 61st minute to tie the game at 4-4.

The future looks bright for the Beamer soccer program. The team has no seniors and most of their best players are freshmen and sophomores.

“Overtime was hard, but I was very proud of the boys for playing with an incredible balance of skill and heart,” Kulaas said. “Bellarmine has a very skilled team and we were excited to earn the opportunity to play them. All in all it was an undescribable first year.”

Beamer was forced to win a play-in game last week against Auburn Riverside to even qualify for the district tournament after finishing up in fourth place in the SPSL South.

Decatur

South Kitsap’s Andrew Kenyon tallied the only goal of the game Saturday at Sumner High School with 12.5 seconds remaining in the first half to give the Wolves a 1-0 win over Decatur.

Kenyon’s goal came after he broke through the right side of the Decatur defense and put a shot on Gator goalkeeper Kyle Bressler. Bressler made the save on the initial shot, but the ball squirted out of his arms where Kenyon was waiting. He put the ball in the back of the empty net with no defenders around.

The goal spoiled a game that was pretty much dominated by Decatur. Most of the match was played in the South Kitsap end, but the Gators couldn’t convert any of their numerous scoring opportunities.

Decatur’s best shot came with just 10 seconds remaining in the match. SPSL South Division Most Valuable Player, sophomore Ciaran O’Brien, struck a free kick from about 30 yards out that hit the bottom of the crossbar before bouncing back onto the field. The Wolves’ defense cleared the ball.

After winning the Class 4A state titles in 2001 and 2002, Decatur (10-5-2) was denied a state bid for the second consecutive year. South Kitsap (11-4-3) was the sixth seed from the Narrows League.

Jefferson

The Raiders were also bounced from the postseason by a Narrows League team Saturday. Jefferson lost to Wilson 1-0 at Sumner High School.

“We just didn’t play well,” said Sawatzky, who had to leave the game at halftime to play in a Saturday night game for the Seattle Sounders. “If we would have finished our chances we would have won the game outright.”

Wilson, the fifth seed from the Narrows League, got the game’s only goal from Chris Smith with 4:53 to play.

“I said it during the preseason and during the season that we didn’t have a goalscorer,” Sawatzky said. “We didn’t have anyone who could finish.”

Wilson sophomore goalkeeper Danny Pritchard made six saves to preserve the shutout and deny the Raiders (13-3-2) a third trip to the state playoffs in a row.

The Narrows League dominated the West Central/Southwest District matches. Narrows teams won five of their six games, including four wins over SPSL schools.

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

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