Sports

Decatur shoots way by Evergreen into boys soccer elite eight

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

It’s not the way a soccer team wants to win a playoff game, but the Decatur Gators will take it.

The Gators advanced into the Class 4A State Boys Soccer quarterfinals with a sudden-death shootout victory over the Evergreen Plainsmen Tuesday night in a first-round game in McKenzie Stadium in Vancouver. Decatur played last night (after press time) against the Snohomish Panthers for a berth into Friday’s state semifinals at Sumner’s Sunset Chev Stadium.

Snohomish (17-1-0) beat Inglemoor 3-2 in their opening-round match Tuesday. The Panthers were ranked No. 1 nationally by one soccer publication earlier this season and their only loss was to Lake Stevens, which was also nationally ranked at the time.

The winner of the Decatur/Snohomish match will play the winner of a game between Bellarmine Prep and Mead in Sumner.

The Gators and Plainsmen, the champions of the Greater St. Helen’s League, played to a 1-1 stalemate through the 80-minute regulation and a pair of five-minute overtime sessions.

But Decatur junior Eric Orozco tallied the deciding goal in the shootout on the Gators’ fifth shot. Orozco’s game-winner was made possible when Decatur junior goalkeeper Sean Mackenzie knocked away Evergreen’s third shot during the shootout. Mackenzie made a diving save on an attempt by sophomore forward Ben Ohrt.

Decatur, who led off the shootout, converted on all five of its shots during the session. Josh Norwood, Kyle Estlick, Brian Trantina and Ciaran O’Brien all beat Aragon, setting up Orozco.

Evergreen forward Tyler Camp gave the Plainsmen a 1-0 lead about 10 minutes into the match when he headed the ball past Mackenzie. Evergreen held the lead until Norwood tallied the only Decatur goal when he scored on a header of his own on a pass from Orozco.

Norwood, who is headed to the University of Connecticut in the fall, had a couple other scoring opportunities late in the game. But Aragon made a pair of key saves on shots from inside 15 yards to send the game to the shootout.

Aragon’s first save came in the final minute of regulation and the second came during the first five-minute overtime period.

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

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