The Todd Beamer Titans’ first-ever appearance at the Class 4A State Boys Soccer Final Four came up a little short Friday and Saturday at Harry Lang Stadium in Lakewood.
Two goals short, to be exact.
The Titans dropped a pair of one-goal matches in Lakewood during the state tournament. Beamer lost a heart-breaker to South Puget Sound League rival Puyallup in the semifinals Friday, 1-0, and were beaten by Eastlake Saturday in the third/fourth match, 2-1. The fourth-place finish was the best-ever for the 5-year-old school.
The Titans finished the season 13-7-2. Bellarmine Prep beat Puyallup in the state championship match, 2-1, on penalty kicks.
Friday night’s loss to the Vikings was a tough one to swallow for Beamer. It was the third meeting of the season between the two SPSL schools, with the Titans winning one and tying the other.
But it was a goal by Puyallup junior forward Justin Veltung in the 24th minute of the match that proved to be the difference. Veltung dribbled his way through three Beamer defenders and connected on a shot from just outside of 10 yards past Titan goalkeeper Ben Draeger.
Following the Veltung goal, Puyallup (17-2-2) packed several players on its backline against offensive-minded Beamer and Viking goalkeeper Kyle Bilharz notched his second straight shutout of the state tournament.
The Titans’ earned the appearance at the Final Four after finishing in third place in the SPSL South, behind Puyallup and Emerald Ridge. Beamer also needed 17 rounds of sudden-death penalty kicks during a quarterfinal win over Shorewood. On the 33rd shot of the shootout, senior forward John Drayer converted the game-winner, which was set up by a diving save by Draeger on the 32nd kick of the shootout.
“I have never seen anything like it,” said Beamer coach Adam Kulaas.
The fourth-place finish also came on the heels of the Beamer girls also earning a berth into the state semifinals during the fall. The Titan girls eventually lost in the state title match to Eastlake in a shootout.
Eastlake 2, Beamer 1
Eastlake’s Jordan Softli and Gordon Savage both scored as the Wolves (14-8) bounced back from a tough shootout loss to Bellarmine Friday in the semifinals.
Beamer’s Troy Peterson scored on a penalty kick in the 68th minute, but the Titans never really threatened to tie the game during the final 12 minutes of the match thanks to solid defensive play by Eastlake.
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, firstname.lastname@example.org