Sports

TJ soccer team still has workf to do after winning SPSL South title

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

The last two postseasons have been pretty tough at Thomas Jefferson High School. Basically because the girls soccer team wasn’t a part of them.

The soccer-rich Raider program finished out of the top-four places in the South Puget Sound League South Division in 2003 and ‘04 and had to watch while teams like Federal Way and Decatur made runs into the state tournament.

Things changed this season, thanks to a mantra co-head coach Amy Sutherland started preaching from the start of practice in August — “Prepare to exceed our expectations.” It seems to be working.

Jefferson rolled to the SPSL South championship with an impressive 15-1-0 record and took on the Kentwood Conquerors last night (after press time) for the SPSL title at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner. The Conquerors won the SPSL North with a 13-1-0 record. The winner of the game earned the league’s No. 1 seed into the West Central/Southwest District and will play the No. 3 seed from the Greater St. Helen’s League at 11 a.m. Nov. 5 in Sumner. The TJ-Kentwood loser will play the Narrows League No. 6 seed at 3 p.m. in Sumner Nov. 5.

“As a coach, I’ve believed that this current core group definitely had the potential to be up there in the mix for first place,” Sutherland said. “But after two years of not qualifying for leagues, it was important for all of us to set realistic goals. So we focused on making it in the top-four in the South Division.”

Mission accomplished.

The Raiders have combined a solid defense with an adequate offense. Jefferson’s defense has posted 12 shutouts in 16 games this season and didn’t allow a goal until a 2-0 loss to Emerald Ridge on Sept. 29. In total, the Raiders have outscored their opponents 41-7.

The TJ offense has been led all season by forward Mel Hicks. The junior has tallied 16 goals, including six multi-goal games. Sarah Byrne is second on the team with five goals.

“I believe that the two major keys for our team’s success have been tactical execution of our system and definitely chemistry among the individual players,” Sutherland said. “And I expect that if those two elements continue into the postseason, then we can remain competitive and go far.”

The Todd Beamer girls soccer team also qualified for tonight’s SPSL Tournament. The Titans earned the SPSL South’s third seed with a 9-3-2 record in league play. The Titans will take on the Tahoma Bears (10-3-1) at 8 p.m. tonight at Sunset Chev Stadium. The match-up between the two third-place finishers will determine the SPSL’s fifth and sixth seeds into districts. The loser will play South Kitsap (Narrows No. 2) at noon Nov. 5 and the winner will take on Gig Harbor (Narrows No. 3) at 2 p.m. Both games will be at Mount Tahoma Stadium. All district games are winner-to-state, loser-out.

“With single-elimination matches, it’s tough,” Sutherland said. “Any team can get on a hot streak and the games have a huge mental pressure built into them. So remaining unified will definitely be crucial in helping the team cope.”

The Federal Way Eagles missed out on an opportunity of tying for the fourth and final berth from the South Friday with a 2-1 loss to Decatur. A win would have tied the Eagles with Emerald Ridge and forced a one-game playoff. Federal Way finished the season 7-4-2 and Decatur ended up 7-5-1.

“We came out and played like we didn’t want to be in the playoffs,” said FW coach Jason Baumgardt.

Football

The Thomas Jefferson Raiders blew away the Todd Beamer Titans (1-8) Friday night at Federal Way Memorial Stadium, 36-12. The Raiders (3-6) built a 36-0 halftime lead thanks to a 26-point second quarter and three touchdown catches by senior Tim Satterwhite.

Satterwhite hauled in scoring passes of 15, 44 and 9 yards from quarterback Taylor Stark. Jefferson also got a 53-yard touchdown run from Ron Tomyn, a 1-yard run from Cory Haywood and a 23-yard field goal from Josh Hauck. Beamer tallied two touchdowns in the fourth quarter on a 14-yard catch by Corey Obungen and a 54-yard punt return by Josh Waller.

The Raiders will take on the Enumclaw Hornets (4-5) at 7 p.m. Thursday night at Pete’s Pool Field at the King County Fairgrounds in their final game of the season. Beamer will host the Kent-Meridian (1-8) Royals Thursday at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.

In other SPSL Crossover action, Decatur will travel to Spanaway’s Art Crate Field to take on Graham-Kapowsin at 7 p.m. Thursday and Sumner (6-3) will host Federal Way (6-3) at 7 p.m. Saturday.

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

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