Highline dominates Franklin Pierce for third place
By Gerardo Bolong
SUMNER - Strong first half defense set up Highline High School for a dominating second half offensive control on Sat., May 26, in a 3-0 defeat of Franklin Pierce (Tacoma) to earn the Pirates third place at the 2018 WIAA/ Les Schwab Tires/ Dairy Farmers of Washington 2A boys state soccer championships held at Sunset Chev Stadium.
The win also avenges two previous losses to the Cardinals this season. FP defeated HHS 4-1 in the SPSL divisional championship and 1-0 in the West Central District title game.
After the initial skirmishes the match turned into a quick striking Pirate attack versus the steady movement of the Cardinals with FP asserting a field position edge.
Just as Franklin Pierce appeared to be on the edge of scoring, speedy HHS striker Edwin Ochoa cleared the Cardinal defense slightly on the right side of midfield before out angling the goal keeper to deliver the go ahead goal in the 19th minute of action.
"I got the ball and was able to get around him and find space," said Ochoa through the translation of midfielder Emmanuel Cruz, who thought that creating space was an important reason for being effective the entire match.
Less than five minutes later, Franklin Pierce made a defensive steal in HHS territory from its right side and sent a crossing pass into the middle near the goal. The point blank shot was defused by a diving save by Highline goal keeper Bernie Jones. Under strong siege, the defenders stepped up to eventually clear the danger.
It would be just one of the brilliant saves by Jones during this match up.
FP continued to attempt its steady ball movement, but by the end of the first half the Pirates were displaying good ball movement that would carry over into the second half.
Opening the second half, the Cardinals tried to get more aggressive, but this strategy backfired to give the Pirates more room to sustain filtered fury in a ground passing attack.
When Franklin Pierce made a mistake, Highline made it pay in the form of continued offensive possessions and goals.
Fifty five minutes of elapsed game time showed when Jones dove high to his right and stretched up his left hand to deflect an opponent’s shot over the cross bar.
“I saw the through ball and came off the line to get a better angle,” he said. “Then I saw the volley to the top corner.”
Utilizing the entire squad, Highline just kept firing away.
In minute 66, Jack Madsen sent a long kick from 44 yards out. To the surprise of even Madsen, when the keeper stepped up, the ball slithered off his body, off his hands and into the goal.
"I saw he was walking back to the goal with his back to me," Madsen said. "I kicked the ball and was going right to left. He tried to get it like catching a pass."
With a two-goal lead, the Pirates literally passed away the time while continuing offensive penetrations into Cardinal territory.
In the 78th minute, Highline scored an open net goal much like an open net goal in hockey when Guillermo Iraheta had a wide open look and fired.
"I got the ball and saw the keeper," said Iraheta. "I was just at the edge when I got the ball and fired with all my feelings to score.”
The second half Pirate attack was precipitated by the Franklin Pierce need to be aggressive.
"When they got aggressive, it created more spaces for us," said HHS head coach Eduardo Millan. "There were great passes. I'm proud of the boys and look forward to more."
Additional support helped build the foundation of this team achievement.
"There were a lot of behind the scenes help," concluded Millan. "The athletic director, the families, the teachers. They were all part of the behind the scenes help."
Bernie Jones, Rogelio Briceno, Victor Alvarado, Steven Espinola, Justin Izquerra, Walner Cruz, Cristian Cortes, Miguel Salcedo, Alexis Cortes, Leandro naya, Edwin Ochoa, Julian Lucatero, Emmanuel Cruz, Guillermo Iraheta, Jack Madsen, Oscar Salinas, Maikol Alvarado, Anthony Flores, Luis Perez, Diego Camacho, Taranvir Singh and Chance Stoneback comprise the Highline (17-4-1) player roster. Oscar Alvarez-Quezada assists head coach Millan. Lori Box is the athletic director.